Tag Archive | Baby birds

Phoebe Family

The phoebes are busy with their little family, on top of the floodlight beside our back door.  It is cute and sweet and endearing to have them as tenants, but I sure wish they’d leave already!  So happy to see the young ones nearly fledged.  The Eastern Phoebe is a friendly bird that likes to nest near people.  They build under eaves to protect the nest from rain since the female uses a great quantity of mud for construction.  Nesting close to humans must help protect the young from attack by more shy animals.

Unfortunately, having birds so close to the house makes the cats crazy.  For a good part of the spring, the door must be kept closed or the cats climb the screen trying to catch the birds.  And the birds yell at the cats incessantly.  Keeping the door closed all the time is an inconvenience.  I’d love to open it and let the spring breezes flow through the house.  Since the birds are quite territorial, it is also aggravating to hang up laundry.  The clothes lines are apparently way too close for the birds’ comfort (maybe 15-20 feet away.)  They scold and squawk every time we put out the wash.  Hey, birds, you picked the spot, quit your fussing!

One fall I took down the nest, hoping that would dissuade the birds from returning.  No good.  The female busily built again in the spring.  This year, she tried to nest beside the front door.  Luckily, I caught her early before she did much building and blocked the area.  So she went up back and reused her old nest.

These little flycatchers are nice to have around since they prey on wasps, mosquitoes and black flies.  It’s fun to see the babies up close and to listen to the adults say their name as they call.  You can always spot the phoebe by the way its tail bobs as it perches.  Plus, at our house, it’s the bird yelling at you and swooping close.  The adult sexes appear very similar, although the male is slightly larger and darker than the female.  I believe the male is in the photo on the left.

Only the female builds the nest and she is quite a little architect.  She piles on clay mud and lines the nest with soft moss and fluff the dogs shed.  Both parents struggle to catch enough bugs to feed everyone.  While the babies grow, the parents spend the entire day catching insects and bringing them to the nest.  The bad news about phoebes is they like to have two broods per year.  So the tantalizing of cats and annoying of humans will likely continue here for at least another month.

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Baby Birds

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As I drove my tractor past the star magnolia tree yesterday I happened to glance that way and was startle to see three pairs of big, frightened eyes staring back at me.  After parking the tractor I went to take a peek. Three baby birds nestled in the grass at the base of the tree.  They were not so afraid now that the huge, loud machine was gone.  They even open their beaks, begging me to feed them.  Their colorful maws make excellent targets for the parents to hit.DSC07244

The bright yellow feathers on their tails helped me to identify these baby birds as young cedar waxwings. Every year the waxwings flock to our farm to feast on the highbush blueberries.  I often suspected generations of birds were raised on the berries.  Now I’m certain.  With two hundred bushes loaded with blueberries that can reach the diameter of a quarter, there is plenty of food for all.

Today I checked the spot again and the baby birds were gone.  They seemed fully fledged and ready to fly.  I hope they are enjoying our berries.