An exciting day in the yard!

Jim Chiropolos

Today was an exciting day in the yard.

On April 4, I first noticed the yard chickadees bring caterpillars to the house nest hole. I then circled April 21st as the possible day the young would leave the nest. The last several days, the young have been making a constant racquet in between feedings and I knew the big day was getting close.

At 8 am today, I knew the time was very close when one of the chickadees, with a caterpillar in the beak, called and chattered for over two minutes on the chimney ledge next to the nest trying to entice the young out of the nest. However, the mate apparently was not informed of the plan, and flew right into the next hole with a caterpillar. With no team plan, the chickadee on the ledge gave up and flew into the hole to deliver its caterpillar.

Two hours later, on a cat walk, I watched a scrub jay hunting for spiders in the grass. Suddenly, excited chickadee chatter. A chick is flying the gauntlet in its first flight from the next hole to the live oaks over the open areas. The scrub jay suddenly makes a dash at the chick- misses. A crash landing in the oaks as the chick and a parent disappear. But the chick stays on the edge, and the scrub jay comes in for another inspection/attack. Then the neighborhood crows 20 feet overhead engage in a dogfight 20 feet above with a pair of ravens, also presumably nesting related. Activity everywhere with four species over nests, young and territory. I don’t know what to watch! Luckily neither the crows or ravens notice the chickadee chick below.

I think the first check survived as I listen to one parent chatter constantly as they fly around the yard, occasionally seeing a bungled chickadee landing as its hard to land if its your first day of flying! It’s a tough day for the parents as there are more chicks in the nest not bold enough to fly out yet, as one parent is still bringing caterpillars to the next hole.

For other yard news, all the black sage I planted attracted a Callope Hummingbird on Monday. I first thought I might have a sphinx moth it was so small.

Fun stuff in the yard!
Good Birding,
Jim Chiropolos