As you can tell Squirrel Jr. still is trying to out-smart the feeder which was made to buster squirrels. He just doesn’t get it!
Two days ago, I saw Mr. W back in the early evening with mud all over him; he looked like he just had a big battle. He didn’t go to the nest, but went up to the top of his nest tree. He stood up there for a few minutes, shook off the mud, then laid on the tree trunk to scratch off the mud. He did repeatedly, until he got himself cleaned.
The same morning, he did a major cleanup carrying out a bunch of junk from the nest to wherever. This probably was why he went to the lake had a mud bath and did what he did. He could have done a few other times, but it’s my first time seeing it… The photo of what he got from the nest looked pretty gross, so I’m not posting it.
They both have been feeding babies with nuts, seeds, berries, and worms through out the day, a well balanced diet.
I have seen Mr. W bringing bigger worms more often then Mrs. W.
Mr. W has multiple duties, he cleans up the nest a few times a week, he shares the responsibility of guarding their nest day and night and feeding the babies. He looks like a happy, proud father.
Whenever they both arrive at the nest, Mr. W always steps on the left side of the nest and lets Mrs. W feed the babies first. One time, he was out their waiting as long as 4, 5 minutes. We put out the bird feeder before it gets dark so they can enjoy when other birds are gone, by then they are pretty exhausted.
Then this weekend, Baby W showed up!
Below is the first picture I took of the baby and Mrs. W. As always, he looks right, left, up, and down a couple of times before she gets in the nest.
I think this one is the big brother:
All photos were taken through a window, please excuse the low quality.
Incubation is by both male and female (with male incubating at night and part of day); it takes 12-14 days. Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 30 days after hatching, may associate with parents for some time thereafter. 1-2 broods per year, rarely 3.
Thanks to Dr. Hb for letting me use his eloquent verse for this post.
Today is hbhatnagar‘s “Two Phrase Story” day. “The premise is simple. I provide one phrase every Thursday, an incomplete string of words, and it is up to you to complete it in your own, inimitable way. However you like, taking it in any direction you want.”. This week’s phrase by Dr. Hb –
It was the mid of April when we first noticed Mr. and Mrs. W and their nest in our backyard. Life is getting a bit busier and complicated for them.
Another predator was hiding behind the tree branches. He/She was just a few feet away from the nest.
While Mrs. W was watching the predator, the squirrel was sneaking up to their nest.
Thank Goodness, Mrs. W spotted it! She zipped toward their nest and ready to attack. Squirrel Jr. ran and ran for his life, Mrs. W chased him all the way to the top of the tree. I really thought she was going to kill the squirrel.
After this incident, Mr. and Mrs. W worked out a new strategy to guard their nestlings. When one was out to get food, the other would dash out to the top of a tree or the roof opposite to their nest watching these predators.
As you can imagine, they are busier than ever before. Now they start their busy schedule before 6:30 am and don’t get rest after 8 pm. Look at her face, you can tell Mrs. W does everything in her power to protect her kids:
Meanwhile, the changing shifts of feeding nestlings between them become more frequent. Nestlings are growing fast and need so much more food. We still can’t see them, but we can hear some noises from the nest when we are out in the backyard and if we listen carefully.
The other day Mr. W’s cousin came to visit:
“What up, buddy? I’m up here.”
Mr. W was so happy to see his cousin. They had a little fun. A couple of minutes later, Mr. W had to go back to the nest.
It looks like Mr. and Mrs. both have lost a lot of weight. The photo below was taken three weeks ago. I love her innocent face.
Yesterday evening Mrs. W flew back and stayed up there for 3, 4 minute, she looked awful. She didn’t get into the nest right way like she always does. Did she have a battle with a predator? I kept wondering…
I suspect two, three weeks later, they’ll start taking the kids out of the nest to teach them flying, find food, and avoid predator. Both probably have already worked out a new plan for kids’ safety. :)
It rained a lot yesterday afternoon. But, it didn’t stop Mr. W, he was flying in and out of their nest in the rain to get food and let Mrs. W stay with their babies. Never, underestimate these little birds, their strength and the power of love.
For the after version, I made basic editing and changed the before photo to B&W in the Lightroom, then processed through Efex Color Pro 4 using a few filters, went back to Lr to reduce the black and increase the white and reduced the clarity a little bit.
The before (below) was taken with 50 prime lens through the car window while hubby was driving in the highway.