Peripatetic philomaths…focusing on what's really important, eating ethically and cleanly, fermenting, foraging/wildcrafting, practicing herbalism, and being responsible stewards of our land. Sharing our photos, musings, and learnings. Still seeking our tribe.
It’s not long after I went to bed and for some reason, I awoke with my mind active and the desire to write a bit. While I don’t like being up at this time of the night (morning?), I figured I may as well make the most of it. After all, a hatch is underway and it’s been a few hours since I last checked progress.
What a delightful surprise to find that the gorgeous Northern Mockingbird eggs had hatched – and from the looks of it, a couple of days ago!
The babies are already feathered, and will soon fledge.
We’ve been privileged to witness two different songbirds’ nestlings hatch, and it’s been such a rare pleasure. Mama Mockingbird has done a great job hatching and raising her brood – may they all grow up and raise their own babies someday!
When you have poultry or waterfowl grow-outs (but especially waterfowl, since they make such a mess with water), a tractor is invaluable. It keeps them safe from predators but allows the growing birds to scratch, bathe, find bugs, eat greens, and enjoy fresh air and sunshine – creating a “controlled” free range (more precisely, pastured) environment. Buying a well-made hoop tractor can be expensive, so we make our own.
Occasionally, when we find ourselves near the nest, we try to peek in and see if everything is ok. I was near the fenced-in nest area yesterday when I saw what looked like a dead baby bird in the nest. Just one. What had happened??
Despite our fears that the tiny nest we’d discovered earlier, hidden in tall grass, was abandoned, this morning we found babies!
Mama (and Papa, it seems) have been attending to their new littles, sounding the alarm and trying to lure us away if we get too close. We did have to get close for a few minutes to securely enclose the tiny nest in wire fencing to deter cats and other predators. Interestingly, the chicks were completely silent, just opening their beaks wide when they sensed our presence (their eyes are still closed).
Working quickly, we affixed fencing on top of the fencing that already encircled it. The holes are large enough for Mama to easily fit through, but small enough to keep out larger animals, including curious paws. Once complete, we waited – at a distance – for Mama to return. And she did.
We’ll be rooting for the littles and looking forward to the day when they fly from their nest!
There once was a very small yellow chick that hatched with a leg that turned slightly out to the side. It didn’t know it was smaller or slower than the other chicks, or that it couldn’t run like everyone else. The chick just tried its best to live like all the other chicks, doing the same things, even if it couldn’t quite keep up. This is the story of that little chick…and an unexpected friendship.