August - September 2017

2 August - Two house sparrows get ready to fledge.




1 September - We finally took down the big woodpecker nestbox in the backyard, that had been used by house sparrows to raise some young ones.

When opened, it was found that the industrious sparrows had stuffed the nestbox to the top with nesting material, on top of the wood shavings "pre-installed."

Mr. Biologist proceeded to empty out and sort out the contents. It looked like there had been two nests, with the second one built on top of the first. There were two bowl-like areas that had been used to brood eggs and raise baby sparrows.

In addition to long strips of grass, bits of paper and many feathers had been brought in for insulation and coziness.

As the nesting material was pulled apart, a large piece of plastic emerged, along with two tiny eggs that hadn't hatched.

They were about 20 mm long by 16 mm wide (a little over 3/4 of an inch long by a little over half an inch wide).

There was an extraordinary number of feathers of all sizes and shapes, from tiny downy ones to long adult ones.

A few strips of bark

Paper and plastic

A wrapper from something

A few much larger feathers, the longest measuring 178 mm (7 inches) long.

2 September - a fawn in our driveway

Turns out the fawn was with a sibling and their mother. The mother easily hopped over the back fence, leaving the two much smaller deer to figure out how to get out of the yard (back the same way they came in -- from behind our garage).

Meanwhile, a number of mourning doves visited the backyard.

An unusual sight: a mourning dove, apparently still soaking wet from a good long bath, sitting on the fence, preening...

... and just chilling.

Another unusual mourning dove: turns out this is a molting dove; its long tail feathers have come out, leaving two stubby white feathers.

The northern cardinal pair who live next door produced two little ones. Here, mom tackles the suet feeder, even learning some acrobatics, to get the fat and protein-rich food for the little ones. We regularly hear the fledglings' calls, but they are kept well-hidden most of the time.

All in the same day, there were several visits by a pair of hummingbirds. They never fed at the same time.



The next day, a visit by a much larger bird >>


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