Saturday, July 11, 2009

Failure to Launch

Hallelujah, I'm back online! For two weeks now I've been unable to upload a photo because my Internet service can't handle the strain. I swear you could almost hear the gears grinding every time it tried. It's like dial-up. Only slower.

So what to post first? I've been saving up all kinds of stuff, but I thought maybe you'd like an update on the Phoebe nest.

For the longest time, I thought maybe it was empty. There wasn't any of the usual peeping or pooping that accompanies an active nesting site, but the mama bird still came and went. Eventually, she and the papa bird starting arriving with mangled bug 'n worm goo in their beaks, so it was clear they were feeding something up there.

The kiddies finally emerged today -- and would you look at the size of them? They're as big as the parents, and I'm not sure all of them even fit in the nest anymore, and yet they haven't made the big leap. (Look closely at the downspout and you'll see a third one there.) It's like the birdie equivalent of having your 24-year-old living in the basement.

They are so big, in fact, that I thought maybe they were cowbirds. I did see a brown-headed cowbird in the yard for a while, and I worried that it might move in on the phoebe nest. (Cowbirds are parasites that lay their eggs in other birds' nests.)

We never saw any broken eggs or dead babies under the nest though, and after looking at photos online of young cowbirds and phoebes I'm pretty sure these are phoebes. Great, hulking, lazy, teenage phoebes. Bless their gawky, adolescent little hearts.

Click here to see more Nature Notes.


NicoleB said...

Glad you are back online!
It's so much fun to watch these little ones doing their first flights, no?
I had a group of starlings here, it was hilarious.
And a long eared owl that insisted on landing on an antenna on a rooftop. Tooooo funny :)

Char said...

Welcome back! I love to see pictures of nesting creatures.

RJ Flamingo said...

Those are definitely *not* cowbirds. After plenty of seasons seeing blackbirds and others feeding fledgling cowbirds (grrrr!), those definitely belong where they're at! I haven't been around much myself, lately, but I'm back, too!

Sallyacious said...

That's a fabulous discovery. I'm sorry your connection has bee lousy. I hope it's picked up for good.

Rambling Woods said...

Hi Vicki..Those aren't cowbirds, I see enough of them here to know. What a great photo of beautiful birds..I am happy to see you back and I am sorry about your provider problems......Michelle

Deb said...

Hi ~ I am also preparing a post about birds ~ some interesting nesting issues going on here at our home. Glad your internet problems are resolved. Happy blogging!

moosh said...

Glad you are up and running again. Lazy bird teenagers.LOL