Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oh Sad Day

I was sitting on the patio last night wondering why our two baby northern mockingbirds weren't chirping. Turns out they weren't there.

I'd been feeling really guilty earlier in the week because one of the babies had fallen (or been pushed) out of the nest and had plopped down next to Bailey. The bird couldn't have been more than a couple days old, as evidenced by its lack of feathers (save for the tuft on his head). Bailey, being perpetually interested in birds, particularly if he can chase them, snatched this one up and was preparing to partake in a nice tasty snack when I discovered him with his treat. Unfortunately, the bird was past saving. So, being a good biologist, I snapped a couple pictures of him (the bird) for documentation purposes and then disposed of him. Poor guy.

Actually, until Bails discovered the baby, I wasn't aware that we had a nest in the yard. So naturally I had to pop up a ladder and check it out once I’d pinpointed its location. There were two remaining babies in the apricot tree and two incredibly angry parents that would have made excellent fighter pilots, had they arms and other essential appendages.

But back to yesterday: I didn't hear the peeping of the two babies while I was outside and became concerned. I shimmied myself up the ladder to discover that the babies were gone and all that remained were some suspicious clumps of feathers. The parents, of course, were despondent. I could tell something was wrong the minute I set foot on the ladder because they didn't try to kill me. So, I guess somebody got to our babies. We were guessing a cat, raccoon or opossum(?). The nest was only about 4 feet off the ground so I don't think any of the critters would have had trouble making it up the trunk. When I got home today there was no sign of the parents. Yesterday they were kind of hanging around. I guess they've finally given up and admitted defeat.

Ok, for all of you that can't stomach the sight of a dead bird and thought this picture was totally gross: get over it! This is actually a fascinating picture. The very soft, fluffy feathers are visible on the crown of the head and you can see the bird's wing feathers just starting to come in. Cool! Had this bird lived to be full grown, he would have been slightly smaller than a robin with a melodious voice and a hatred of all things feline. What a great combo!