Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Sad News

Last Sunday, I went to the park with Brian. Haynes had seen a house sparrow in the lower gardens and it was determined that it had kicked out the tree swallows, taken over the box and was hatching babies. When Brian checked the other boxes, he found the chickadee male was inside and dead with 3-4 babies that were still alive. The female was trying to take care of the babies herself. He was sure it was the house sparrow as he has seen this before and they can be very aggressive about other birds in the area. A few days later, he went to check again, and all the babies were killed and on the ground. He also found the female wren in the third box dead inside her nestbox. Very disturbing.

We also discovered that the phoebe nest that is pictured with a baby on a previous blog entry was completely gone from its corner on the little hut by the river. We even found the nest material on the ground. I thought someone must have removed the nest, but Brian said that it was a predator. The baby was so close to fledging too. However, the 2nd nest on the building also seems to have a bird in it. Not sure if it was a different mother and/or whether there is a baby in that one.

A gardener Donna called me last Sunday evening as well and she discovered a little nest on the ground just outside her garden plot. She was worried about the babies being so vulnerable and also wondering what kind of sparrows they were. We're all in agreement that it is a song sparrow, but they don't often nest on the ground like that. The sad thing is that for a few days there were at least three babies but now, there is only one. Clearly, predators are getting them. I've been checking on the nest every day - we were all really worried with the last rain storm. Today, the baby is looking a little more like a fledgling sitting properly in the nest and developing pin feathers. I only wonder if it will last long enough to be able to fly away. It probably has 5-7 days to go but don't know if the odds are with it in that location.

The grosbeak nest was empty this morning. I hope that isn't a disaster too. Hopefully, the parents were foraging for food.

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