Last week I posted a blog about four eggs in a nest that had been deposited in my hanging flower basket. I guessed that the eggs would begin to crack open this week. And, they did! Or, at least one has.
When I stood on a tall outdoor stool to carefully drip a small stream of water down into the stems of the thirsty flowers three days ago, I saw the tiniest yellow mouth rise up and open. It was totally silent, this hours-old hatchling.
I quietly gasped as I do when startled by the miracle of nature unfolding once again.
And I immediately climbed down off the stool, put away the hose, and gently tucked myself back inside the house.
Now I’m in the “sacrificing the flowers” part of last week’s post. There is a massive wilt going on in my flower basket but I don't much care; this is very unlike me: I have a decades-long tendency to water well, and to overwater.
But far be it from me to interfere with newborn creatures. Those two junco parents are cuddling with however many babies have hatched, keeping them warm and doing their instinctive best to protect their young.
Though I had some doubt about that yesterday:
I actually called the local wildlife shelter because I hadn’t seen the parent move for more than twenty-four hours; I feared that a resident feline had messed with the junco who likes to rummage on the ground for goodies to eat. I learned a lot in that phone call:
how to create a miniature water bottle to keep the babies warm,
how to best transport them to the wildlife center,
how long to wait, and
what to watch for to determine whether or not the babies were being cared for. And I was also reminded of a small fact that had slipped my mind: two junco parents tend to care for the young in the nest, so if one is hurt the other will still keep caring for the nestlings.
But despite my commitment to do my part to protect the unfolding non-floral life inside the flower basket…my curiosity combined with passion for growth in the natural world has me returning again and again to the nest: I climb up on a stool and then haul myself to a slouched standing position on the kitchen counter (that ceiling really could be another six inches high!). I peer through the closed-for-their-privacy kitchen blind, through the one slat that I have opened askew so that my eyes and camera lens can catch a peek. So far, I have not been able to see down into the nest. The baby-or babies-lie(s) under the adult, still too small to pull themselves above the height of the nest. But I perform this ritual four or five times a day anyway. I don't want to miss a thing!
I’m waiting. Not very patiently. For I long to observe the nestlings, the feedings, to hear their tiny squeaks, and to observe adult birds raising their young. So I continue silently climbing up on my kitchen counter...
All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."