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The cycle of life

By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 31st, 2006 at 1:37 pm in wild birds.

Gary: I wanted to write to you to share the slice of nature’s drama that been unfolding on my front porch over the past several weeks.

My spider plant recently became home to a family of sparrows (at least, I think they’re sparrows). About two months ago the two adults diligently constructed a lovely little nest, tucked neatly beside the plant fronds in my heart-shaped planter pot hanging from the eaves. Shortly thereafter, two blue eggs appeared and within days, another two. The little female faithfully sat on the eggs day and night to keep her brood warm, leaving only when humans dared step onto the porch, like the mail carrier or UPS driver.

I think I was as anxious for the little birds to hatch as were momma and poppa. Two weeks ago the first of four tiny critters poked its head above the edge of the pot. At first, their peeps were so muted I could barely hear them at feeding time nor were they big enough to see. But how quickly they have grown! Now they seem nearly as large as the two attentive adults.

At feeding time, all four rise up from the leaves, loudly peeping with beaks agape, begging for as much food as mom can supply. Their fuzzy heads are so cute. They look like prehistoric raptors with a Mohawk hair-do. This past weekend they started stretching their wings a bit, so I’m looking forward to witnessing their first attempts at flight.

It has been an unexpected delight to watch this small segment of nature’s cycle of life happening right outside my living room window. I will be sad to see this little family leave the neighborhood when it is their time to leave the nest. (Susan in Concord)

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2 Responses to “The cycle of life”

  1. Liz Wylie Says:

    Dear Gary, The cycle of life sometimes takes an odd turn. As a volunteer at Lindsay Wildlife Museum my job is to answer callers questions regarding wildlife. One of these questions is what to do if a nest of baby birds falls down or is destroyed for some reason. Our advice, in many cases if the babies arn’t injured, is to make a nest from a box or plastic container in which the babies are comfortable but still accessible by the parents. This “nest” with babies is then placed near where the original nest was situated. We advise to place it off the ground in a bush or tree or even a pole where predators, especially cats, can’t reach it. Frequently the parents return and continue taking care of their babies. Well, by golly, an AT&T employee took down a nest from a pole in front of our house because it was causing problems with telephone communication. We found two uninjured babies on the ground so took our own advice and built a nest from a wooden flower pot. We nailed it up high on the telephone pole and waited to see what would happen. Within no longer than 5 minutes mom and pop were checking over the “nest”, shrugged their shoulders, then continued feeding the babies. It was such a thrill to see that the advice actually works and that the little ones still had a chance to grow up.

  2. Gary Bogue Says:

    Reminds me of the time a baby scrub jay fell out of the nest and broke one leg. I patched up the leg with a little splint and kept the jay chick inside the house at night in a shoebox on a heating pad. During the day I rigged a little platform in the tree by the nest with the other jay babies and sat the shoebox with the jay on the platform during the day. Mama jay fed the injured baby along with the others. Just before the jay chicks were ready to fledge, I removed the splint (x-ray showed the leg had healed). Fast-growing chicks are fast growers! Then I put the healed chick back in its nest with the other babies and a few days later, all fledged together. /Gary

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