Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Bird In The Bush...

On July 03, 2013 we found a Northern Cardinal nest in the Lacecap Hydrangea just outside our dining room window.  You could easily see the mother cardinal sitting on the nest.
 July 3
We had noticed a pair of cardinals in the bush the week before we found the nest.  Then we were away from home  and when we came back we found the nest.  We were excited to watch the progress of the little family.  Soon we saw there were three buffy white, brown spotted eggs in the nest.
We were careful not to open the window near the bush and to not make much movement near the window. 
 July 6
Nine days after finding the nest there was one baby cardinal.  Not the cutest baby ever.
 July 12

 July 13
The little bird was so hungry and so tired.
July 13
It took two long days for the other two eggs to hatch.  The mother bird was often away from the nest, sometimes the male cardinal would stop by.  So eight days after we noticed the eggs all three were hatched.
Of course I did a bit of research on cardinals to see how long this whole process would take.  I found, "When the eggs hatch, both parents will feed the young. The young leave the nest in 9-11 days after hatching. Often the young are unable to fly much the first day or two after fledging."
 July 14 Three baby cardinals
Three days later there were only two baby birds to be seen.  We had a rainstorm and the rain split the hydrangea bush apart just a bit exposing the nest somewhat.
July 17 Two baby cardinals
 Feed Me, Please!
 July 18 one eye is open...Are you my mother?
July 18
The chirping started and kept on but since we left the window closed, we only heard the birds when we were outside.  This was a very hot week with temperatures in the 90's.  The nest is looking rather rough.  We still have two babies.
 July 19 Two baby cardinals

 July 20
Well it has been 6 to 8 days since these birds hatched and they are to leave the nest in 9 to 10 days after hatching?  They seem to be a little behind?  I'm not a mother bird or a bird at all, but I am a mother and I think these babies were neglected.  Maybe young, inexperienced parents, or it was too hot, too dry, too close to the house?

I also found this, "Each season the pair will try to raise two broods. A new nest will be constructed for second broods by the female. The male continues to feed the first set for up to two weeks. During this time, the female will be incubating her second clutch. This will keep the male busy feeding her, and the first brood, and protecting their territory". 

 July 21
Nice story so far right?  Well, be ready because it is going to make a sudden turn.
When I checked the nest on the afternoon of July 22 I was sad to discover this was the end of this story.  Don't scroll to the next picture, really just don't.  Maybe I shouldn't include it at all.
The nest had just one baby bird left and it was not in good shape.  It was dead.  There was no sign of the other baby and I know it wasn't ready to fly from the nest. 
This is just part of nature.  Really though, if you've ever hit a bird with your car or even run over butterflies, don't you think, wow all the things that creature had to go through to make it to this place, then bam, it's over.

No I don't swerve for birds or butterflies. And yes I do swat mosquitoes.  Sorry the story doesn't have a happy ending.


New Hampshire Gardener said...

Might have been a hungry cat in the neighborhood. Whatever the cause, it's natural and something that happens every day-we just don't usually see it. Nature doesn't give many second chances.

Plants Amaze Me said...

Of course you are right Allen, it could have been something at the nest because I didn't see the first two baby birds anywhere on the ground. So they were probably some one's lunch.
And it is natural but we just don't usually see it. I'm glad I didn't give the birds names.

Anonymous said...

The mortality rate for most song birds is so high that it can make you wonder how the species manages to survive. There are plenty of predators, snakes, cats, coons, and other species of birds to name a few. Some of the young die of starvation, others from disease, no matter why they die, it is sad to us. But, nature is nature, and there's not much we can do about that.