Four phoebe fledglings ready to fly. Watched them off and on today from my home office. Such a cold day that we lit a fire in the woodstove. Rain and wind made miserable conditions for all. The nest has grown tight and one of the fledglings in particular is restless and ready to explore the world beyond. The parents swoop in to feed so quickly that I struggled to snap clear images.
Update: Twenty-four hours later and the nest is empty. It was a windy day and the first bird to fledge struggled to find his footing. (Footing?!) He ended up on the ground under a drain spout so we hustled the dogs into the house, did some quick research (thanks Avian Haven!) and prepared a back-up nest that we could put him in next to his siblings. Thankfully he had flown off (presumably to the nearby tree line with his parents) in the interim. (That was mid-morning.) As I write this it is 7:10 pm and we’ve been out in the yard (again, with our dogs) and I’m quite certain I say two of the fledglings practicing landings and take-offs in a nearby tree.
She is under the deck where her children are nesting. She is actually wondering why they can’t be quite.
I do not know what gorgeous thing the bluebird keeps saying, his voice easing out of his throat, beak, body into the pink air of the early morning. I like it whatever it is. Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world that is without dark thoughts. Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world that is without questions that can’t and probably never will be answered, the only thing that is entirely content with the pink, then clear white morning and, gratefully, says so.
Next full moon is June 14th. This month’s full moon is known as the Strawberry Moon. Lately humans have been acting more like wild animals than the wild animals. I’d like to blame the moon but at some point we probably ought to own the chaos humans wreak upon each other, our planet, and all of the plants and creatures and rocks and minerals we share space with.
Out for an early paddle. Saw six adult loons and two osprey. Also watched an eagle first frighten the loons (see below) by flying low overhead and later enrage a pair of ravens. The raven pictured below slowly worked his way closer to the eagle by jumping from branch to branch, vocalizing, fluffing up his wings, and ripping off small bits of tree (twigs and pine needles) and flinging them around. The eagle was unmoved.
The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) migrates to breeding habitats primarily east of the Rocky Mountains, from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada. It is the only species that nests east of the Mississippi River and is the only hummingbird that is regularly seen in Maine. Source: https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/7152e, Bulletin #7152, Understanding Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and Enhancing Their Habitat in Maine.
Hummingbirds drink nectar using tongues that are so long that, when retracted, they coil up inside the birds’ heads, around their skulls and eyes. At its tip, the tongue divides in two and its outer edges curve inward, creating two tubes running side by side. The tubes don’t close up, so the birds can’t suck on them as if they were straws. Instead, scientists believed that the tubes are narrow enough to passively draw liquid into themselves. That process is called capillary action. It’s why water soaks into a paper towel, why tears emerge from your eyes, and ink runs into the nibs of fountain pens. Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/hummingbird-tongues/546992/
The past few days have given us a reminder of August – hot days, blazing skies, parched earth. Yet for the wild animals that I share space with, it is spring business as usual. The phoebes have completed their nest beneath our deck, and I believe the osprey are done their nest refurbishment too, since I have not seen them fly over with sticks for at least a week now. This is our first year with bluebirds, and they seem to live in the field across from our dirt road. Our fence is a hit with the phoebes and the bluebirds, and the Baltimore Orioles are thrilled with our offering of oranges and grape jelly. Who wants to live in the city? Not me.
There is a lovely store on Main Street in Winthrop where you can find work by local artists. I’m so thankful to Nick Shelton for giving me the opportunity to display some of my work in his store. He and his parents (and grandparents!) are lovely folks, not to mention talented (clay, pottery, woodworking).
We have a pair of phoebes working on a nest under the deck again. (Trying to work and watch for them to fly under the deck – which they won’t do when my three hooligans are out running around and chasing osprey and eagles out of our air space. For real.)
The second photo shows two osprey that will be nesting on a small island near our house once again. In late April/early May we see them flying over the house “empty-handed” and then returning to their nest with a stick to spruce up the nest.
The same windy night that I saw the osprey I also saw a pair of loons. It was windy and wavy (and I’d already stepped into the water up to my knees to avoid completely falling out of my kayak) but I got some photos – just not very good ones. The loons were bathing, which often involves a fair amount of hilarity (in my view).