The planter on my patio table has been constantly dug up.
Dirt from the planter is flung all over the table and floor. What animal was doing this? Naturally, squirrels were the first suspect. I even put red pepper on the dirt.
One day the culprit was finally revealed. It was none other than my Carolina Wrens, Frick and Frack that have been taking a dirt bath in the planter. The first time I witnessed the bath, one of the Wrens enjoyed the dirt for quite awhile and ended with a grand finale of throwing dirt high in the air.
I caught them again and was able to snap a quick photo through the kitchen window with my cell phone. Frack enjoyed the bath while Frick watched from a chair. I didn’t get Frick in the photo.
Several times every morning, this Red Bellied Woodpecker drills on that same piece of gutter. It took a few times of running out of the house to see what the noise was about until I discovered the Woodpecker. This behavior has been going on well over a month. This guy needs to find a mate!
Frick and Frack, the Carolina Wrens, built another nest on the porch in a pot next to the back door. They wisely decided to abandon it, probably due to the constant slamming of the door. The Wrens did not go far and have been in the yard with their new brood.
Another bird sighting that I was unable to photograph, is several young American Robins. Robins usually head north for the summer, but in recent years they have begun to stay here on the steamy Gulf Coast. I am thrilled to have them singing in my trees.
Frank, Frankie and Freeda, the newest Carolina Wrens were recently spotted. All three are flying and doing well. Frick and Frack are teaching their kids the ins and outs of suburban life, including lessons in finding bugs on ceiling fans. Dad is sitting on the porch furniture (not in frame) loudly giving instructions.
Frick and Frack’s three eggs have hatched. Meet the newest Carolina Wrens, Frank, Frankie and Freeda.
Mom and Dad have been busy keeping them fed. It is a multi-step process getting to the nest and making sure no predators are watching.
The meals have been small moths, little worms and various bugs.
I missed the shot, but the parent was pulling out a fecal sac. The nest is kept very clean.
When I finally got the shots I wanted for the post, I noticed that evening the adult Wrens were not tending the nest. I grabbed a flashlight to see inside and found the nest empty. It was the day the baby Carolina Wrens were ready to go out into the world. I wish them well!
Frick and Frack decided to stay in the chiminea. I was very excited to see three eggs in the nest. The photo is not very good as I was trying to get the iphone to focus in the deep nest. Carolina Wrens typically build nests 3 to 6 feet off the ground in a tree hole, but when they are around humans, they will be creative and build in whatever they find.
Unfortunately, the nest is on the porch where we like to eat our meals. Frick and Frack were very unhappy with us last night and had quite a conference with each other on what they should do. We ended up eating quickly so the Wrens could return to their nest.
A new year and and new nest. This year Frick and Frack are building on the porch again. They are trying out the chiminea. The Carolina Wrens picked a location that will be dry and is high enough that cats and raccoons may stay away, but the chiminea is right in the path of humans coming in and out of the garage.
Frick and Frack have spent days building the nest.
Each takes a turn adding the building materials. The Wrens are using pine needles, mosses and dried leaves.
It is hard to get a good photo, but look at the nice weaving of the pine needles. It is amazing that the birds instinctively know how to construct a nest.
Some of the materials were just too big to fit. It will be interesting to see if this site will become Frick and Frack’s actual nest this year.
Sugar bird is back! This is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and I am sure it is the same Kinglet that has been visiting the garden every winter for a few years. The Kinglet hangs out in the bed outside the kitchen window and picks at the Camellias removing scale and over-wintering eggs from the shrubs. The bird then heads for the hummingbird feeder for a sweet treat. This is a different feeder from last year, but its tiny beak can fit right in.
The rest of the winter visitors have arrived and include, Sparrows, Goldfinches, Yellow Rumps and a Rufous Hummingbird. A Robin has been hanging out in the yard too, but won’t pose for a photo. The year-round birds have also been feasting from the feeders. Some are Titmice, Chickadees, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Hawks, Doves and Cardinals. (These are the birds found around the feeders. Many others are passing by or gathering in the trees.)
What a difference a year makes. Last year there was silence in the yard as most of the birds were missing. It was happening everywhere in the area. It was so shocking that people were writing to the papers. Theories were that hawks had taken all our beloved birds. But, there would need to be a lot of hawks to clean out such large area. Some thought the birds were poisoned. Well, that would have had to be a massive amount spread everywhere. The most likely explanation is that the drought had finally ended and the woods were full of natural food that had been in low supply the last few years and the birds were feeding elsewhere.
Now the garden is full of Cardinals again. There has been up to 10 feeding at a time and the males are busy chasing each other around the yard. All is well in the garden again!