Gladiolas, Wrens' Nests, Baby Blue Jays and SNAKE!

June 2006 Garden Update. The wrens keep raising the chillrun’, the baby blue jay and SNAKE!

Pic of the Day
bird coin thief

Quote of the Day
from Michael Berg, whose son Nicholas had his head sawed off on camera by Zarqawi:

"I'm not saying Saddam Hussein's a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Under Saddam Hussein, no al-Qaeda in Iraq; under George Bush, al-Qaeda. Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability; under George Bush, instability. Under Saddam Hussein, 30,000 deaths a year; under George Bush, about 50,000 deaths. I don't understand. Why is this better to have George Bush be the King of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?"

Web Site Worth the Visit

"The problem is not immigrants; the problem is the vast numbers of immigrants"

Here's a 14-minute video made in 1996. Even then the problem was major. Check it out then imagine how bad it is NOW.
Sobering Video


Poor Man's Security

Go to a secondhand store. Buy a pair of men's used work boots - a really big pair. Put them outside your front door on top of a copy of "Guns and Ammo" magazine. Put a dog dish beside it. A really big dog dish. Leave a note on your front door that says something like: "Bubba, big Mike and I have gone to get more ammunition -- back in 1/2 hr. Don't disturb the pit bulls. They've just been dewormed."

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The June Gardens

The plantings here in Serendipity Shore grow and prosper. The bigger drama in the eco-system continues to be the bird fellows. More on this below.

Below is a pic of the various gardens. The most major news is the GLADIOLAS! Indeed those big, showy flowers often seen around funeral caskets grow happily in the front porch garden.

These gladiolas are supposed to be perennials. We shall see.

June 2006 Serendipity Shore Garden Montage

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Baby Blue Jays, the Pig-Planter Wren Nest and Bird Mobs

It was a most ordinary morning as I joined the dogs in the morning backyard romp. Until the big galoot dog found something and that something was alive.

I'd heard the blue jays before spotting the baby. Indeed for a few moments I wondered what bird sound this was, so soft and unique were the calls of birds in my surround; soft calls coming from the neighbor's yard. Birds use these sorts of soft calls when rounding up their children that had recently left the nest. The notion being, I must assume, that a lower-volume call to the young will prevent predators from joining in on the search for young, juicy bird meat. Soon I saw a pair of blue jays in a tree across the fence and knew that there were blue jay children somewhere. Then I noted big galoot dog had something she was chasing around a tree trunk in our yard. Said tree trunk is directly on my side of the fence, immediately adjacent to the neighbor's yard. At first I thought it was a frog, another critter the big galoot dog likes to chase. Then I saw the creature do an awkward flight/walk and I knew it was the baby blue jay those concerned parents were summoning with their soft clucks.

Big galoot dog doesn't really want to harm the critters. She just wants to play with them. Such "play", alas, is dangerous to delicate little critters such as baby birds so I immediately called the galoot and set about finding the blue jay youngster. The plan was for me to pick up the bird and put it over the fence into the neighbor's yard, where a) there was no big galoot dog to harm the bird, b) there were hedges and such for the baby to hide in while my back yard had no such thing and c)the parent blue jays were on that side of the fence and they wanted the youngster to come to them. What do blue jays know about such as fences?

Indeed I did find the baby blue jay and I don't think I've ever seen a cuter baby bird. Already, even at so precious a size, the little blue jay had the sky-blue and white color of its species. Of course the young blue jay considered that my human self was an even bigger galoot than the dog but I continued on. I did get the bird in my hand but that baby blue jay let out the loudest scream that I dropped it in my surprise. Heh. Well, blue jays are known for the screaming ability and this youngster certainly carried the trait. Amused but determined, I ran after the now-running baby blue jay and caught it again. Its parents were both on the other side of the fence, quite concerned about the baby and what this big human woman might do to it. With a quick lift I got the baby over the fence and soon both parents were on the ground, ostensibly assuring the youngster that all was safe now.

I returned to the back deck, content to finish my morning coffee and satisfied that the screaming baby blue jay was now safe with its parents. Then I heard MORE screaming blue jays. Only these screams came from adult blue jays and I knew from the length and continuation of the screams it could only mean one thing.


I left my deck perch again, coffee now cold, and went to the fence by the OTHER neighbor's yard. High in a tree I could see the snake. One blue jay was attacking that snake with all its might. As the blue jay screams continued other birds were lured to the sounds and soon there was a full-fledged bird mobbing going on.

In all the world there's nothing more amazing than a bird mobbing and until that fateful morning, I'd only witnessed one other.

Cardinals, chickadees, titmouses and, incredibly, mourning doves, flocked to the sound of the blue jay screams. En masse the birds mobbed the snake.

The snake, for its part, was not at all happy about the birds then making its life miserable. At one point it manipulated its body into a figure-eight. The snake's tongue darted in and out and when a bird came close to it, the snake struck.

As for my big galoot human self, well I was on the birds' side on this one. Whenever I saw a bird get close to the snake's mouth I shouted "WATCH OUT!". I am proud to say that my human intrusion into this drama must have worked as upon my shout, the attacking blue jay got out of the way, barely missing a snake attack.

I watched this drama for a full twenty minutes, mesmerized by the bird mob and pondering just what mourning doves, veritable symbols of the birds of peace, could do to assist. Sadly, I think the snake got a hummingbird nest. At least from my ground position that's what it looked like. I didn't have my binoculars and was too in thrall to go retrieve them. I only wanted a peaceful morning, a sip of coffee and exercised dogs that morning, after all.

Snakes love baby birds and this is prime snake season. Birds' nests are a favored prey, baby birds being a cherished food.

After a while the birds left the snake. There was no saving the hummingbird nest it appeared. That snake was wound around the small nest and whatever was inside had either perished or the snake found the nest empty. One can only hope.

This drama over, myself and dogs went to the front porch. Which, heh, has its own drama going on in the form of two unbearably cute wrens that made their nest in a pig-planter, I'm not making this up. Below is a close-up of the pig-planter and a picture that I managed to get of one parent wren delivering a bug for the chillrun.

Pig Planter Containing Wren Nest

I've never been one to espouse termination or change in human activities should a bird build a nest near the human house. Those wrens knew full well that the porch was regularly used by one human and two dogs. Indeed they actually built the nest while both myself and the dogs watched in amazement.

I do discourage big galoot dog from nosing around the nest but make no mistake, she knows those birds are in there. Despite this, the wren pair regularly make bug deliveries to the baby wrens inside the pig-planter and its all a delight to watch.

The next drama I watched on this fateful morning was the appearance of the robin.

I've noticed robins protecting another birds’ nest before and as soon as I saw the robin hanging around the parent wrens I suspected that this robin was sort of a "protector" of the wrens' nest.

In my old home I'd noticed a robin protecting a chickadee nest. In fact, that same robin once dive-bombed me when I got too close to that nest. I was puzzled then and remained puzzled now. There is a robin's nest in a nearby tree. I'm not sure if this nest belongs to the robin hanging around the wrens' nest or if it's merely an instinctual thing for a robin to protect a nest, ANY nest.

That robin flew around the front yard, alighting upon tall objects such as flag poles and garden ornaments. This is protective behavior, behavior of a bird defining a territory. Whenever a parent wren flew by, the robin joined it, even at one point diving into the azalea bushes, a favored hangout of the wrens.

An even more amazing sight was a parent wren landing atop the lot's "Serendipity Shore" sign, a road sign mounted on a tall pole proudly proclaiming the lot's name. The robin landed right next to the parent wren on the sign and go on, a robin and a wren right next to each other, about six inches apart.

Every time a parent wren delivered a bug to the chillrun in the nest, the robin flew nearby and watched over the proceedings. How could I not smile? Perhaps the robin was waiting for its own nestlings to hatch and protecting the wrens' nest was "practice" for the arrival of its own offspring. Whatever the case, those wren parents seem to appreciate their kindly protector.

I've taken to "talking" to the wren parents. Yes I have. All animals understand sounds; birds, in particular, live by sound. Using a soft tone, I tell the parent wrens that "it's okay", that they can deliver the bugs to the chillrun now. When dogs and I first enter the porch the parent wrens are hesitant about bug-delivery. This is when I use my soft voice and assure the wrens that they can go about raising their youngsters, that neither dogs or human will bother them.

Hey, it seems to work. For as soon as I give the parent wrens the "go-ahead" they fly right in with their bug bounty.

What an experience, to watch wrens mind their chillrun. With each day those youngsters in the nest must be growing tall. Those parent wrens sure are busier than heck and goodness, I never knew there were so many bugs in my yard!

I look forward to the baby wrens leaving the nest and will mind the big galoot dog that she not harm them with her desire to "play".

More Gardens and Bird posts HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a wren nest in a flower arrangement that hangs on the front porch. There are 3 babies in it and I thnk they are about ready to leave. How do they get out of the nest? I have been fascinated for days watching the goings on. One of the parents has a red underbelly the other is brown. I'm assuming they are wrens.