Sunday, April 22, 2012

For the Birds?

Summer has arrived in Tucson with a vengeance, and although temperatures may get down to the 80s by the end of the week, it was 100 degrees when I checked a few minutes ago. Sadly, it's still spring to the birds and animals who are mating and nesting, etc. A couple of days ago I went out my front door and two quail flew out of the big hanging Boston fern in the entry ( ) , a fern I'd been meaning to take down and repot, but I guess I'll have to wait on the repotting.
I asked Joe to take it down and he put it on a plant stand but we're going to have to set it on the ground until the eggs hatch and the babies are gone - now there are 7 eggs. Baby quail leave the nest well before they can fly and if it's too high up, well, that could be very sad.
     I'm not optimistic for their survival. I learned long ago not to count the adorable baby quail trailing behind their parents; there will be fewer every day as they fall prey to predators and other dangers. But some survive, and hopefully some of these will too. It's cool and shady in the entry, but if it's open to the parents, it's also open to other creatures like whatever got a family of house finches almost ready to fly away from that same pot a couple of years ago. That's why I don't want my home to become a nursery - it's impossible to protect the little things and it breaks my heart when "nature red in tooth and claw" claims them.
      That's what seems to have happened to the two baby doves that hatched a week ago today in the flimsy nest their mother built atop a 6-foot ladder leaning against the west side of the garage.
They were the oddest-looking little things, all wrinkly gray skin and enormous black eyes. When I came back with my camera, the mother was on the nest and I didn't see her off it for a week. She didn't mind us walking by and all seemed well, until this morning, when I looked out the window to see her gone and the two babies much bigger than last time I saw them.
They were so cute. But, it got up to 100 degrees today and their nest is in full sun. I looked out again and one was on the ground, dead. A friend and I went out for a few hours and when we returned the mother was back on the nest, but Joe said he was sure the second chick was dead too. I can't see how it could survive this heat in that location. Last year the baby doves in a nest in our pine tree both survived and grew into big, healthy birds, but they were in a shady, protected location.
     Maybe the quail in the fern will do better. I hope so.


  1. It's soooo hot here. It was 105 today....record breaking heat....ughhhhh...

  2. I know, huh? Guess we should be glad we're not outside in the hot hot sun!