Friday, July 9, 2010

White Squirrels and such

I guess it is nature week for me. I just posted white squirrel and acorn pendants in my etsy stores. I made these pendants for the Fourth of July festivities in lovely Brevard, North Carolina, reknown for its adorable white squirrels.

All is well that ends well

My husband and I were quite tickled a couple of weeks ago when a pair of Carolina wrens started building a nest in a squirrel-ravaged bird house on the deck by our kitchen window. (Needless to say, the INDOOR cats were also tickled to have good viewing perches.)

On Thursday, July 1, I finally saw three downy heads bobbling in the nest while the parents were foraging. We went away for the holiday weekend, and when we returned Sunday the three chicks had started to become quite vocal about feedings but were still mostly down. Russell insisted I was annoying the parents with my constant peeks, but fortunately wrens are pretty tolerant.

I grew quite alarmed when I heard the weather forecast for this week. I read that baby wrens often succumb to heat above 90 degrees and the weather reporters were predicting 100+ temperatures. Our deck is particularly sunny and hot so I rigged up sheets across the trellis Tuesday morning to create some shade. I was really worried because the babies appeared to be only about 9-10 days old and not yet ready to fledge.

When I got home late Tuesday night after a high of 101 degrees, I checked but couldn't see any activity at the nest. Wednesday morning it was quite clear that the babies were gone. I had read that the parents will remove dead babies from the nest and feared the worst.

Needless to say, we were both quite sad.

Thursday evening I noticed a couple of adult wrens foraging for bugs in a shady area about 75 feet from the deck. I could have sworn one of the them grabbed a worm out of some bark and took it up to a low branch. I then saw a smaller bird preening itself nearby. When the bird started to fluff out its wings, I saw that it was still quite downy and realized it must be one of the chicks.

Friday morning I went to check on the situation and found a clump of chicks huddling in a bush. All three seemed fine, preening and peeping. Then a couple more chicks hopped in from another part of the bush. I left when the parents started squawking at me but not before I snapped a few pictures. If you look carefully, you can see all five babies in the picture to the left.

I am so impressed that the parents were able to relocate this brood of five when the chicks are not yet flying. The group must have hopped over to this safe new home. The parents continue to be extremely attentive so I am sure the family will be fine.