Every year we put up a couple of nesting boxes in our garden for the birds, but we never really saw any action until now. This year we were delighted when a pair of our favourite little blue and yellow birds starting building a nest in the box right next to our deck. They would go in out all day, carrying feathers, twigs and bits of fluff in their beaks, making a nest for the female to lay her eggs in. About a week ago, we started hearing faint chirping noises and we knew that the eggs had hatched.
These birds look like what I would call a chickadee, but when I did some research, I found that the chickadees I know from British Columbia are the black-capped variety. We have similar ones here, but the small ones that are nesting now are in fact known as European blue tits. Heh. ( yes, yes, insert myriad jokes and puns here.) I think I'll still call them chickadees.
I adore these birds. They're always so cheerful and full of energy and love to hang upside down on a branch and swing away. They are so tame that we have sometimes had them hop from the deck right into our living room to pick up stray crumbs (of which there are plenty!). Once in a while when I'm sitting outside on a garden lounge, they will even come and land on my toes! These guys have definite personalities.
Anyway, this particular pair has been busy feeding their offspring many, many times a day and keeping the nest meticulously clean, often scolding us if we get too near. We can't wait until the chicks actually emerge so we can take a look.
Mr M took these photos and I think they turned out really well. (As usual, click on the pics to biggefy)
a little rain won't stop me!
Mmm...a crunchy daddy-long-legs
And even better...a nice green worm
must. find. more. bugs.
bird on a mission
The colours in the pictures reminded me of the West Coast and then I got started thinking about the differences in the birds here and there.
When I first moved here, my mother kept sending me hummingbird feeders. We lived in an apartment for the first five years so we didn't have any use for them, but when we moved to this house we hung the feeders outside and waited. And waited. Where were all the hummingbirds? Well, guess what, Mum? There ARE no hummingbirds in Europe. Hmmph!
My parents have lots of hummers whizzing around in their garden in Vancouver, and my kids loved watching them when we were on vacation. Once in a while one would fly into the house, but usually found its way out again with no trouble. Last time we were there, however, one did get stuck high up on a beam at the back of the living room one day and needed our help. We caught it in a small net and then I held it in my hands until it calmed down. It was quite awesome to feel a heart beating in that warm little body.
Black-chinned hummingbirds are common to southern British Columbia, the western U.S. and northern Mexico and I believe the one I got to hold was a female because of the white colouring under the chin and on the tail feathers. These tiny birds (about 3 in/7 cm long, at most) are suprisingly feisty and pretty fearless when it comes to humans and this one was no exception. She sat there for a while and rested, cool as a cucumber, and then took off back into her favourite tree without even a backward glance.
Ain't Mother Nature grand?