Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nature's Architects

Last week before the storms rolled in, I enjoyed a leisurely walk down the road with camera in hand. I actually had spotted this little marvel while I was out scything thistles, and came close to hitting the ironweed on which it is built. Seeing the nest, I backed off and left the thistles around it, to protect it.
Later that evening, the whopping storm rolled through. On the ruse that I was checking the trees and powerlines, I exited the house when the rain passed to check the nest.

And there it was, still sturdy as could be. I was pretty amazed, but when you get a good look at how intricately it is woven around the stems and leaves of the ironweed, it is not surprising it withstood the onslaught of rain and hail. I still wondered if it was new or was a *spare* as some birds build more than one before nesting.

Next day, another peek.......AH! One speckled egg! So it is inhabited! At this point I was still unsure of the species to whom it belonged, though I had some suspects.

A check back again today (with way too much sun, sorry!) and now the eggs are three and I saw a flash of dark sweep away from the nest as I aproached to get the photo.
This is in rather wet ground, soooooo............

.......When I saw Papa Redwing Blackbird, sitting on the electric wire, expressing his displeasure with my presence in a very loud voice, my suspicions were confirmed.

The bird photo was luck, pure and simple, as I was shooting blind into a sunny sky. It was not until I uploaded the pics that I noticed him in full squawk! Dad is NOT HAPPY.
I quietly walked away, leaving the prospective family to their housekeeping.
I am hoping this nest makes it as the nincompoops in this area tend to mow all the roadsides and never look at what they are cutting. Where the nest is located is a ditch that used to be full of wildflowers and beautiful grasses. Now only thistles and the ironweed survive. Oh yes. And copious quantities of poison ivy.
I'll have to keep an eye on the birds and hopefully they can raise their little ones and then I may harvest the nest, so they will go into the gulley, where living conditions are much safer.
Country life........it has it's perks!


P.S. For some reason, I am getting comments to moderate, but they will not publish, nor am I getting them through my e-mail system. Blogger must be at it again!
If you have left a comment and it is unpublished, I apologize, but this one is way out of my hands....sorry for the inconvenience!


Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Hey MAMA!!!! Howdy girly. Hope that all swell with you. I feel like I haven't emailed or commented on your blog like forever. I have had so much work on my desk and full of deadlines. I cut myself a break too. I'm taking the day off too and I coming to visit my very special friends like you. I just love the photos of the birds nest. How precious and beautiful. You have such wonderful eyes! This is magnificent. I hope that you get the chance to rest and do your nails and toes and stir up a batch of fresh lemonade and do what you want to do. I love you so much
Have a good one!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Vanessa,

Yes, there is a point at which, even with all one has to do, you just say to heck with it and take a break. I am dead today, and we have more weather pushing in.
I think I'll sit and do NOTHING (for 5 minutes...hahaha!) and then maybe watch some lousy TV and snooze!
I would prefer to be making art but hit a standstill on one piece and I need to let it S-I-T.
Enjoy your day!


Robbie said...

I'd put a sign up or something to alert folks on the nest! Isn't nature just the most beautiful thing! We've had two hatchings of robins under our deck (they do this each year) and now we have some sparrows in a bird house on the edge of the deck. One year we even set up the web cam to watch the babies! That was a hoot! Thanks for sharing your 'walk'!

yoborobo said...

Hi Anne! Sorry to be AWOL. Things here got a little hectic. Such is life. :) LOVE your nest pics, what an amazing construction job! Beautiful birdie, too. xoxo! Pam

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Robbie,

I had thought about a sign, buit with some of these people around here, that might lead to quicker distruction. (no joke....)
I think I will just watch from a distance and if someone comes with a mower, go out and verbally assault them! ;)


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Pam,

It's been a nuthouse here too.....everythime I think things are going to calm down....AH----HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
(we should be used to this by now though, I suppose)


Anonymous said...

What are the chances of getting a bird in mid-squak??? Great photography as always...... We are watching a Robin's nest right now. She built in my climbing hydrangea right next to the walkway. At least she has gotten so if you just pass right through she will not fly away but if you linger.....gonzo!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Marilyn, I could see nothing when taking that photo! It was so funny that I loaded it and there it was, mouth open!
Luck was with me! ;)
Robins here are VERY TERRITORIAL.....I had a couple of nests I had to take out before there were eggs due to location, like, not getting in my house!


Georgina said...

Beautiful nest. I have one in my trastero I found a few years ago on the ground...fell out a tree, but it was empty. The family had already flown away, or I just imagined. Anyway, it's just amazing how they build these beautiful little bundles and how sturdy they are...just amazing. But I'm still not a lover of birds!! LOL We have a mockingbird family in our Cherry Laurel and boy, ever time I pass the tree, which is necessary since it's right out from our front door, he starts squawking and in the early evening as the white tailed doves come around to roost, it's like a squawking war out there!! sheesh!!

Have a great day as I do a little art therapy with my boy today...he wants to learn how to do art...so will start with a sketch pad and some coloured markers.

Love ya,

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Georgina,

I did that bird post JUST FOR YOU!!!! ;D
I do look at the different nests and think, how do they DO that??? This one is so intricately woven, I would have loved to have a camera somewhere to see how it was built.
Beautiful! Have fun with your art!!!


Marie S said...

Isn't that gorgeous construction? We should make our houses this strong.LOL!!
I love that you protect them.
We have swallows here and they build nests out of mud one spit at a time under the eaves, and they poop and mess all over and I ust love them. I don't have the heart to knock the nests down.
Original adobe, you know.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Marie, I love finding different bird nests. The small song sparrows, or maybe it's the crested, make nests out of fine grass, so perfectly swirled it looks like a sweetgrass basket.
It is quite amazing (even with the poop and mess) to have birds nest close and watch the life cycle from nest building to fledglings to *baby* birds as big as the parents, flapping and squawking to be fed!


Terra said...

The nest is masterfully constructed, and I love redwing blackbirds; the lady birds are brown and hide well, while the males are so striking. How sad the roadsides are cut like that so wild flowers don't prosper.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I love them too Terra. They are always the harbingers that Spring has truly arrived, and we have quite a few due to some drainage area on our south 2 acres. I love seeing them perched atop cattails in the Fall, and sitting on the electric lines like they own the place.
Well, they do.... ;)


audrey said...

Great photos, Anne. That is about the most sturdy looking nest I've ever seen. It is amazing, isn't it, that a little bird can construct such a thing. However, think what a spider can do.
I hope it stays there till the little ones are out on there own.
I hope the weather has calmed down in your area.
♥ audrey

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Audrey!

I had never seen one of theirs up close---only at a great distance. It really is woven like a basket. I am hoping it will survive so I can keep it after it is deserted.
And yes, watching spiders rebuild a web on a dewy morning is an amazing feat.
And we think we are at the top of the species list......hmmmmmmm....


Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Anne,
I hope your comments are coming through loud and clear now.
Ah, good eye and great photography honey!
Sorry to hear about the Tornado!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Coming in by blips and blurps Anna! I seem to be just one of many having issues with Blogger today, and for the past several days. They must have mainframe issues.
Wanted to go check the nest again but it's raining, and....ummmm...I'll melt! LOL!!!


studio lolo said...

I had a new bird show up at the feeders today...yep, a redwing blackbird!!

I would have taken a guess that this was a weaver's nest. How fortuitous you caught a glimpse of dad!

That nest is really a labor of love. Wow.

I hope no storms for a while ;)

Can you say 'scything thistles' three times fast?


Elena said...

Great photos but you are lucky daddy didn't come after you. I had one chasing me poking my head once. Darned bird. Let's hope they'll be safe and make it to become grumpy daddy's themselves.

Anonymous said...

Life in the country, nothing like it.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Lolo,

Scything Thistles X 3!!!! LOL!!!
I sooooo hope the eggs make it. Been raining all evening; thought I'd get another pic today but don't want Mama off the nest....


Leslie said...

What a lucky find, I hope you can see the end result of little peepers down the road. Great photos by the way.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Elena,

The only birds I ever have trouble with are the robins around here. They are flat out MEAN. (even when they don't have nests)
I guess they knew I wasn't there to harm it; neither flew towards me, just balked a lot!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Peggy,

You said it! I wish I was further out in the country with more land.
Not to MOW, mind you.....just surrounding me. And trees!
And no storms... :D


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Leslie,

Me too or I'll be the one howling and crying.....
Have to check on them tomorrow in the a.m.....


Lori said...

I love your photos! I found your blog through my mom's at Lingering Shade! I enjoy photography so much, so your blog is a treat.

Ces said...


Now just think: that fascinating and intricate design is built by only a beak and pair of claws. Plus they have to keep on flying up and down to carry each strand. Unlike the cuckoo that is a murderer and a parasite and lets other birds tend their eggs and young!I knew a blogger who collected natural bird-crafted nests that have fallen to the ground. Amazing collection she had. This one looks very sturdy and cuckoo-proof!

kj said...

anne, whew! i finally made it here. i got to read all your comments, which i enjoyed.

i love this post and these pictures. for me it's a bird's eye of something i don't and won't see everyday.

i love your reverence. good combination: spunk and reverence.


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Lori!
Glad you found me; I enjoy going to your Mom's blog and seeing what lovely things are growing!
Beautiful place she has....


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

So Ces,

The nest is safe from me? HAHAHAHA!!!! I still cannot figure out how they do it; I so hope it is there when they are done---it is amazing.
This one I certainly would bring in.


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey KJ,

I was wondering if this was going to publish; I am still having issues with comments publishing, even some of these.
It is a neat thing to see.....so glad I saw it before that scythe hit one of the stalks of ironweed!


Deborah said...

That is a work of art! Our birds out here need to learn how to do that...they are constantly blowing out of the trees. **kisskiss** Deb

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Deb!

Glad Blogger let you through today!!! I had an awful time getting todays post up....
I need to go check the nest today--between rains. ACK.
Rain.....go visit Deb!


di from di-did-it said...

I've never seen a redwinged blackbird's nest before ~ this is cool! Thanks for sharing your world with us, Anne!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I had not either Di. Usually they are in a swamp, where there are big spiders....and I stay well away!
Birdcheck for the day---every egg was fine!


Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Stunning little basket maker with wings! Beautiful works for creation. Imagine Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

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