An adorable pair of Blue Gray Gnatcatchers were building their dream home in Belleplain State Forest today. I have a serious crush on birds that are blue.
Every morning I peek into the nest (via my phone) and the first thing I do is try to count beaks. Sometimes I have to wait until a feeding when all the beaks are plainly, comically visible. I don’t fully exhale until I see four needy mouths. So far, four everyday. 🙂
I was shocked last year to learn the survival rate for Eastern Bluebirds is only 25%. Yes, 75% of the birds do not make it. In our short career as Bluebird Ambassadors, we have lost six nestlings, at least four fledglings (that we know about) and one gorgeous and kind male adult in the span of two spring/summer seasons. It’s heartbreaking…truly heartbreaking…but I’m reminded that, it’s nature. And it’s part of the fragile agreement we have with life. In this way observing Bluebirds has taught me almost as much about death and loss as it has about life. Spending any focused time in the natural world deepens our understanding of the delicate balance of existence—including our own—and our place in the cosmos. It can be like church. A lot like it.
So back to these four adorable beaks that I have the honor of observing and counting each morning. They are just beginning to look birdly. They have microscopic feathers on their heads and wings and their individual personalities are beginning to show. I think I’ve identified the runt and the bully—you know that sibling that hops and climbs over the others to directly negotiate with the parents for more food. There’s one in every family. Am I right?
This video shows a snippet from yesterday. Remember, you can see ALL the daily posts from the start of nest building HERE.
Yesterday it finally snowed on the daffodils so now we can be officially done with the white stuff for the season. It also snowed on, well, everything. I set up to capture some video of the Bluebirds in the snow and simultaneously recorded the goings-on inside the house. Here’s a fun glimpse into our little Bluebird Nation:
I try to post at least one new Nest Cam video everyday. Watch from the very beginning of nest building here.
The first of the four eggs hatched this afternoon! And it was just like in the cartoons! 😉
Breaking into the world is hard, no matter the animal. Happy little first-born seems to want two things: to get the shell off his head, and maybe some grub.
Watch and you’ll see mom remove the eggshell. Last year I captured mom eating the shell.
The weather for the first half of the weekend was less than cooperative to birding or photos: steady, ice cold, but needed, welcomed rain. The second day was more hospitable to both birds and me with intermittent sunshine and light winds. The Nikon Coolpix P-1000 continues to tease me with its potential and then slaps me with it’s limitations. But I’m trying to reduce anxiety and anger so rather than spending my entire relationship with this camera bickering with it, I’m learning to accept it for what it is. A big honking point and shoot.
What I learned about the camera with this outing:
- It’s a disappointment shooting in low light and a horror shooting above 800 ISO. There’s a setting in the camera where you can limit the max ISO to 800. Do that. Right now.
- It’s a waste of time shooting in RAW. Really don’t bother. Just be happy with the JPGs it produces and you’ll save yourself the frustration of more time wasted in processing.
- I’ve yet to confirm but read in two places that this camera is NOT weather-proof so I didn’t take it out during the spring deluge. The images above of the Grackle, Purple Finch and Blue Jay were take from indoors. A reminder to keep my windows cleaner.
What I learned about birds: they don’t seem to mind getting wet as much as I do.
Ps. I expect the Bluebird eggs to hatch any day.
The daffodils get snowed on at least once each spring, so while we didn’t get any measurable snow I’m hoping that yesterday’s frigid temperatures were the required spring slap back to winter, reminding us not to get ahead of ourselves.
The Bluebirds and eggs took it like birds and appear to be fine. There was enough heat generated by mom sitting on the nest to completely fog up the frozen camera lens. She came out a few times to refuel on meal worms and then got back to the monotony of turning and sitting, Turning and sitting all for the good of the offspring and the world. Like most moms.
Especially self-judgment. I even judged this artwork—about not judging—to be unworthy of posting. That’s how bad I am at removing judgment. But see, I’m trying…
A good thing to remember. Even if you have to remember it again and again and again.