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breeden
ursulav

Possibly The Closest Yet Encounter With Common Wildlife

Holy crap.

I was puttering around on the deck, ripping out the plants that have run their course, putting in some stuff that claims to like shade (we'll see about that--my deck is a kind of Darwinian gauntlet this year, as I attempt to determine what I can keep alive in this climate. Salvia, honeysuckle, and azaleas are gettin' on like a house afire, jasmine and butterfly bush are doin' okay, dwarf gardenia is blooming with mad excitement. Some of the others that were initally doing great have succumbed to caterpillars. Since I won't use pesticide for fear of damaging the bird food chain, I pretty much wrote 'em off as a loss. I could get a shipment of praying mantises or something, but we have plenty of bugs already without having to get even more.)

But I digress.

I was puttering around, as I said, doing some cleaning in the bargain, and looked over at my little two-tier cheapass wooden potting shelf. The cardboard box on the bottom shelf, which contains peat pots and plant-info tags and generalized gotta-put-it-somewhere all-weather crap, seemed to be full of dead leaves.

This didn't surprise me much--I live under a bunch of trees, and the deck is always covered in dead leaves, pine needles, sweetgum balls, and other things to be herded off with the shop broom. I pulled the box out a little ways, intending to grab the leaves and dump 'em in my trash bag.

And paused.

And said "Goodness, that's a lot of leaves..."

And paused.

And said "Holy shitmonkeys...eggs?!"

As many of my readers, who are brighter than I am, had probably already guessed, it was a nest. The box had been packed full of dead leaves and pine needles, and in a neat little fluffy spiral hollow that opened on the side were three creamy, brown-speckled eggs about the size of malted milk balls.

My guess is that it's a Carolina wren nest--fits the description, they'll nest practically anywhere, and they're always all over the deck. I don't know anything about wren nesting--whether the eggs are going to hatch or should have already, or what, since everything else seems to have hatched already--but I carefully pushed the box back in, didn't touch anything, and left it alone. I am perfectly willing to lose the use of my potting shelf if the wrens need it, and I hope I didn't alarm 'em by touching what is now their stuff.

I'll keep ya posted...


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It's actually a myth that birds will balk at a nest or eggs that have been touched by humans. See this article for reasons why not. It's actually about baby birds, but the same applies to nests and eggs.

Fear not: You have probably had very little if any impact on the birds' little ecosystem. :)

Phew! That's a relief! Well, groovy--wrens are supposed to spend two weeks in the egg and two in the nest before flying off, so hopefully we'll get a chance to see 'em.

That myth 'IS' a good way to keep little kids from messing around with nests, eggs and baby birds and showing them off to their little snot-nosed friends.

I never said it was a bad thing to tell kids that, just not to worry too much about findind a nest that way. It is a good way to keep kids from messing.

I think wrens are one of the two-brood-per-year crowd, so this may be batch two. And I can personally attest to the fact that momma bird won't abandon her babies, even if you were to, say, take down the chinese lantern that they were nesting in so that you could take a picture: http://www.livejournal.com/users/lintqueen/49717.html

Whew, that's a relief! I was a little worried it was a nest full of dead eggs...

Very cool! Please stalk the wrens and the nest and take pictures!

That reminds me of when I had a nest of house finches in a hanging spider plant. sadly, the roof rats killed the babies :(

Some of the others that were initally doing great have succumbed to caterpillars. Since I won't use pesticide for fear of damaging the bird food chain, I pretty much wrote 'em off as a loss. I could get a shipment of praying mantises or something, but we have plenty of bugs already without having to get even more.

Centipedes are predators, you know...

Aww. Baby birdies are soooo cute! Hopefully they'll hatch ok. There was a sparrow's nest in my neighbor's bush one year. I walked past it, and all of a sudden the bush started chirping at me! I peeked in, and four little fuzzballs looked up at me with the "feed me" look. Once they figured out that I wasn't mom, they quieted down and sat real still. I saw a few later when they were fledglings. They'd flop around in my yard. Unfortunatly, they were probably all eaten by the stray cats that roam the area.

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