Who would have thought?

Winter 2008, I mounted a bird house on the pergola outside the living room window. I did buy a fancy plastic screw on bird house protector because the location, while up high, is probably accessible for a smart cat. Still, I did not expect it would amount to much, until this spring, when I saw two little chickadees start a nest there a few weeks before the garden tour. But they were flighty in their attention, there a lot one day, gone completely the next. I read that they often build 5 or 6 nests, then settle on one, so I just carried on with garden cleanup and with the tour.

Imagine my delight when, a few days after the tour, the chickadees were back in earnest! My bird observation skills aren't great, but I do think for a while just one was flying back and forth, in and out, and now both are in and out from early to late. They're not thrilled if humans arrive in their corner of the garden, and get noisy and excited. And they try to pretend they're only having a look at the bird house, and only go down the entrance protector when they think no one is looking.

At the same time, two Towhees seem to have built a nest in the Lorapetalum right below the nest box. They were quite sneaky about it, casually hopping into the bush with a few twigs in beak, looking to be in the neighborhood. I actually crouched down and looked up trying to see the nest, because I thought they were up to something, but it seemed as if nothing was there.

Well, they fooled me for sure. It's now 10 days later, and I'm pretty sure they are feeding some baby birds as well. Hop, hop, up into the bush. A few seconds later, we see the upper right corner of the Lorapetalum move, which probably means the babies get fed. I really do wish I could stay home and keep watching the baby birds fly away. But I'm sure they'd do it while I wasn't looking, and the only surprise will be more birds in the garden....

(This would probably the place to apologize for the awful photos, but I'm actually thrilled I managed to get any at all. Maybe over time, I'll manage birds and butterflies. For now, I do prefer flowers -- and no wind... But I had to share the happy news!)


Noelle said…
It is so exciting to have birds take up residence in your garden. It is so great that you were able to get photos at all. Thank you for sharing :-)
I really enjoy learning about birds from around the world and had never heard of a Towhee before. I also know only too well the frustration of trying to get a photo of little birds that dart about - I have lots of 'empty' photos, so I think you have done a great job to snap them!
fairegarden said…
This is the most wonderful report! Thanks for that factoid about the chickadees. We keep seeing them by the birdhouse that is supposed to be for bluebirds, acting as if they own it, but never go inside. All the birds seems to be flitting about with caterpillars in their beaks right now, such an exciting time. I believe your photos are most excellent! They tell the story perfectly. :-)
Elephant's Eye said…
Love your birds and your blog. (Linked to you today)
Glad your bird house is home to a nest and thanks for the info on chickadees--I did not know that, but it makes good sense.
Country Mouse said…
I witnessed the excitement yesterday when visiting the Town Mouse home - saw the chickadee zipping in and out - that little tunnel must make all the difference - I'll have to try getting one of those. We have chickadees but they prefer nesting in holes in the trees and we don't get to see them up close. I also saw the towhee disappearing into the bush, followed a couple seconds later with much shaking in the upper right quadrant of the bush! So thrilling indeed!
Sunita said…
How exciting! I would've grabbed any excuse to stay at home and watch them too.
And there's no need to apologise for the photos. I applaud your ability to hold on to that camera without dropping it in the excitement of the moment.
How fun! Lots of proof that your garden is very appreciated by our fine feathered friends. Don't worry, shooting birds (with a camera that is) is tremendously challenging on a good day...and butterflies, well, I admit to zipping around here like a crazed stalker trying to photograph them, and always come up empty handed. It is fun to try though.
Bird photography is so hard to do really well, and congratulations for getting your images. I usually give up and just enjoy the birds without the stress of trying to make a perfect portrait.
Sylvana said…
Oh! Congratulations! I love having bird families in my garden. I didn't know that about chickadees.
ryan said…
My parents just put in a box like that. Hope they get a resident too.