Saturday, May 10, 2014

the sad, gory news

Sit down. Pour yourself the beverage of your choice.

Here's the sad news. Not all baby birds survive. Not all clutches make it.

It's a rough world for a baby bird. Sometimes their parents choose a poor site for a nest. There are also heavy spring storms, strong winds. There are predators looking for a quick meal: Cooper's hawks, crows, raccoons, black rat snakes, etc. etc.

American robins can produce three broods a year but it is estimated that only 40 percent are successful. Yet, most avian species are doing well however, even growing in population (particularly robins) because they do manage to produce oodles of young.

Mourning doves can produce six broods a year and they are still classified as a game-bird so there is dove hunting in the fall. It is estimated that up to 20 million doves are shot by hunters. Yet, the species thrives.

Most young birds in our area are raised by male and female partnerships working together. They form pair bonds.  

The above photo I took on Wednesday shows a Canada goose family doing well. Mom and dad watching the brood.

The bottom photo I took last week shows a Carolina wren clutch that didn't survive, probably the victim of a marauding raccoon that for some reason left one of the lifeless nestlings hanging from the box. Gory! Gory! Crime scene photo! I suspect mom and dad chased it away but too late to save this clutch.

But don't worry, they'll start over. The season is still young, but let's hope they choose a better nest box. 

Crime scene photo

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