Monday, May 26, 2008

Beasts in the Garden 2008

A new spring brought new critters to our little suburban yard. Just outside our kitchen window, we have an aptly-named bird's nest spruce. For the past two springs, a pair of house wrens built their nest in it, but this year a pair of cardinals beat them to it.

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Here's the female on May 2 towards the end of the nest-building process.

She laid 3 eggs on approximately May 4. A couple days later, I noticed a broken eggshell and embryo nearby. It had likely died and she pushed it out of the nest.

This is a shot of the female on her nest. The remaining 2 eggs hatched on May 11. They appeared to be a couple of small wet blobs. I took no photos, as I was trying to minimize the disturbances.

On May 16 the 2 babies are 5 days old.

On May 18, at 7 days old, the babies are quite a bit larger.

On May 22, there is considerable activity around the nest-site. Both parents are very agitated, then I notice a pair of house wrens that are apparently trying to reclaim the spruce. The cardinals are on the defense. The female is shown above and the male below.

This shot shows the close proximity of the nest to the window. If I opened the window, I could have reached out to the nest.
The proud parents perched in a nearby spruce on guard from the intruders.

The house wrens weren't the only reason for the excess activity. The two young cardinals are now out of the nest and thinking about the life beyond... or at least when the next worm would be delivered. May 22, 11 days old.

The nest was abandoned the next day. It doesn't appear that it was large enough to fly, but both babies were gone. I spotted the male the next day in a nearby tree, seemingly unconcerned.

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