Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden Visitors

When we think of little creatures in the garden, we sometimes focus on the bad not the good. Birds, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, praying mantis are the highlights we gardeners seek. While I have had my share of moles, japanese beetles and the like, I can sit back and enjoy this early period without them. Birds are on my mind today.

I mentioned a little while ago that I had cardinals building a nest in my cypress bush. I have been trying to avoid gardening in that area for fear of disturbing them. The bush sits out my sunroom window and this is where I do the majority of my writing. The birds keep me company. Papa bird was out all week, flitting about with food in his mouth. Mama came out for the first time in awhile yesterday. AH! And here she is again today! I wonder what is going on in that tree. Are the babies here yet? When does mom bird feel comfortable leaving the nest? Would the mom leave the dad to sit on the eggs? I haven't heard any little chirps yet, so I don't think the babies are here. ("What's Inside Amy's Head" provides interesting information about bird gestation. I need to do more research to answer all my questions though. Or, I would appreciate comments from anyone knowledgeable about the subject.)

How do birds pick their nesting sites? My friend Sara has a bird's nest above her kitchen door. The door leads toward her car port. She lives on a wooded property, which seems like it would be a better choice to me, but perhaps the birds are safe from predators in the carport.

Yesterday I visited a local garden center and found this little lady with her baby (whose beak is visible behind mama's head.) My friend Regina thought the bird was a sculpture. She sat so still on the same table as the merchandise. Regina reached out to touch her and jumped back when the morning dove blinked. I took a fast picture, but didn't want to disturb her. Was this spot less busy when the morning doves chose this home? Do they regret their choice of nesting location now?

One of my favorite children's book is "The Best Nest" by P.D. Eastman. I love all of P.D. Eastman's books, so if you haven't had the please of reading "Go, Dog, Go" and "Are You My Mama?" (another birdy classic) trot yourself to the library right now. Every grown-up and child should be acquainted with these. In "The Best Nest," mama bird testily wishes to leave their busy home. She's pregnant, so she has a right to be grumpy! Papa bird looks everywhere for the perfect place for his new family, but they end up back where they started. They learn that despite its flaws, they really do have the best nest. So, perhaps the birds know something we don't and choose their locations wisely despite the absurdity of some of the places we find them.

Daddy cardinal swooped out of the cypress with a wave of song. Mama is tucked safe inside the tree again. My cypress is too big for the spot where the previous owners planted it. I think I complained about this a few days ago, but I will never take it down. Last year, a family of bluejays had a nest here. I think I truly do have the best nesting site around.


Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,

Love this posting on the nesting mourning dove. I, too, have a backyard garden that seems to attract expecting feathered moms! Here's a posting I did last year on a nesting mourning dove, the birth of her babies, and flying lessons.

Amy said...

We had flycatchers of some sort nesting under our deck last year. They were wonderful to watch and so bold in their protection of the nest that they followed me all around the garden, literally within easy arms reach.

Thanks so much for "faving" me on Blotanical! I wanted to send you a message earlier, but have seriously injured my knee and can't get downstairs to my computer. I'm borrowing my husband's laptop so I can catch up on my messages :)