Birds, Birds, Birds

I believe I may have mentioned in previous posts that my husband and I love to watch birds. One Saturday evening about a month ago, we were eating supper on the back deck. A bird kept flitting back and forth from a post, to a tree, to the top of a birdhouse. It was so fast, we couldn’t follow it, nor could I get a picture. Once it finally settled down and we got a good look, we pulled out all our bird books searching for what it could be. (Yes, we lead an exciting life, don’t we?) Then we watched it call out and realized a sound we always attributed to a frog, was actually from this bird. Al pulled out his trusty I-pad and searched for the sound. It was coming from a Clay-Colored Sparrow. Another bird to add to our list.

Shortly after that a yellow bird, not a finch, started flying around. I finally have figured out it is a fledgling oriole. We now have many of them coming to the jelly feeder. Sometimes when I’m working on a story out on the deck, I find myself just sitting and watching the birds instead of working. Now the baby hummingbirds are out, fighting, swooping and arguing over the feeders.

A while ago, I wrote a blog for my publisher’s site at Soul Mate Publishing. It was about how a Robin nesting outside my office window was distracting me. A bit after I posted the blog, the babies fledged and I thought that was the end of the story. My husband had said that Robins don’t nest in the same place twice. A few weeks later I noticed the mother Robin 002sitting on the same place she’d nested before. I checked the nest, and low and behold, there were four more bright blue eggs. My granddaughters were visiting and were trying to see over the deck railing, but couldn’t. Then the six-year-old realized she could see the nest through the cracks in the deck. They were very excited. A short time later, the kids were back and the eggs had hatched. The nine-year-old noticed that only there were only three babies. I told her the same thing had happened with the first batch. Interesting. 003

Now I will have to wait and see if the Robins will nest there again next year. I am going to re-post my original story and pictures about the robins. I need to add that after I took the last picture in the blog below, I waited a week and then went out to take more pictures. The babies were in the nest, but when I raised my camera, they all flew out at me. Scared the living daylights out of me.

Today I want to blog about a bird. Now you might wonder what this has to do about writing, but I need to tell you that this bird has been a distraction for weeks.

A few weeks ago I was planting some Morning Glory seeds I’d been soaking in water. After putting them where I planned, I had a few left over. I wandered around the house looking for a place, when I remembered a planter attached to a post beneath our deck. Our house is built into a hill, so our deck is about twelve feet from the ground. In the past I’d planted Morning Glories in it so that the vines would wind themselves up the post and onto the upper deck.

I can’t see into the planter unless I stand on a stool. Since my hands were dirt-covered, I decided I would blindly press the seeds into the soil without the use of a stool. I reached up and into the planter to loosen the soil. Much to my surprise, I touched something hard. I stood on my tiptoes to see what was in there.003

001Nestled in a round, weed-designed nest were four bright-blue eggs. A robin had used my planter as her spot to raise her young. In the past, the robins have used a ladder (which blew down), an upper corner of our wooden playset (a raccoon took care of that one) and a pile of rocks (I can only assume another coon took it out.). Needless to say, our local robins have not been too successful in raising their babies. I hoped their new spot would keep critters out.

So since that day, I’ve been watching the robin and taking pictures. The couple are now used to my coming and going from the basement, and don’t even squawk at me anymore. If we lean over the railing from the upper deck we can get a good view of the nest. I’ve watched the parents wiggle their bodies over the eggs and fretted when I thought the parents were gone too long.
Now the eggs have hatched and the robins are busy feeding the four, scrawny, featherless babies. I hear the parents chirping at one another as if to say, “Bring me more food,” or “It’s your turn to sit.” I’m beginning to be able to decipher their various calls. I see them tipping their beaks down, obviously feeding the brood. 006

Why are six birds such a distraction? The nest is right outside my office window. Not only do I hear the mother and father, but now I can hear the babies peeping, making me stand and look to see what’s going on every time I hear a noise. While writing this, I’ve looked out four times to check on them. I feel like a brand-new mother worried about the status of my newborn. 002

003Can I use this as an excuse not to write or edit? It’s tempting, and it sounds better than some other excuses I’ve come up with, but soon the babies will fledge and once again peace will reign outside my window. Until then . . . I can add two more times I’ve checked on them.007

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