Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mother's love, or instinct?... hotly contested...

I've noticed every once in awhile that a bird gets stuck in the greenhouse and they usually get out on their own.  Lately, I'd see one enter and then it'd disappeared without me seeing it leave.  I thought it must've gone out the top vents.  Steve noticed one fly in two days ago and went in to see where it went.  

He found out where, all right.  It LIVES in there.  And in an unusual place.

It's a mother Dark-eyed Junco.  The reason I thought it left out the top was that it's really hidden it's nest.  I'd left the old hanging tomato setups from 2 years ago on a shelf.  Steve looked around and found...

... that one is now a nest with eggs in it.  She didn't like me trying for these pictures so they aren't the best.

There are 3 eggs that we can see.  The poor mother is showing her resolve to keep them safe and alive, but she picked the worst place to nest.  She's probably wondering what in the world is happening.  She finds a great place and then it becomes hell.  The temperature in the greenhouse is over 120 degrees during the day.  

Now that I've really been watching her, I'm seeing a desperately hot momma bird trying to take that heat.  If only she understood that the heat in there means she probably doesn't need to sit on them to keep them warm.  She's flying out about every 10 minutes and sitting in the shade of the pines and panting.  Sometimes she drinks from the hens water dish, but mostly she doesn't.  I haven't seen her leave to eat either.

I left seeds and water near the nest but she doesn't seem to have noticed.  I haven't noticed a male around, but then there are several Juncos.  Maybe they've been taking turns and I haven't noticed that either?  I hope she doesn't overheat.  Do birds have heat strokes?  

I guess we'll know how things turn out soon as most Junco eggs hatch at 12-15 days.  Now, will the babies be able to take that heat before they can fly? Time will tell.

We finally decided on a way to foil the beatles that'll arrive soon.  I hope it works.  Steve put in posts to hold the tulle we'll put over the blueberries. 

We cut cross beams to help in the draping.  We lucked out on most of these materials as they were lying around free on the property when we bought it. There had been old range fencing of barbed wire and posts.  The posts are all different sizes but, hey, they're free.  Old pallets were pulled apart for wood and other odds and ends of wood were also used.  

In the next few days we'll see how we can drape and secure the tulle and I've got plenty of clothespins to close the coverings.  Will it work?  Stay tuned...

Bought a package of 4 hollyhock starts and forgot to "start" them.  I finally found them and I've installed them on the outside of the garden fence where they'll get support.  I soaked them well and added some egg shells but they may not do anything.  

My mom always had beautiful ones at her home...  

... maybe they'll forgive my lapse in care and grow...  

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