Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Standing Watch

The entire time the female built the nest, the male Wood Thrush was standing watch from nearby trees. He always stayed within 20-30 feet of the nest. In this photo, he is actually on a branch of the same tree the nest is in about ten feet above. Wood Thrushes have a pot-bellied shape which can be seen well in this picture.

Always alert for danger, he kept a sharp eye on other birds in the area.

He doesn't appear to try to be secretive about where he is or what he is doing. Much of the time, he sits there singing. That is often how I locate him.

What is surprising is how many threats they have dealt with in the short time they have been nesting. One of the most significant threats come from the gray squirrels, mostly because of their size. They are difficult to scare off. They will eat baby birds and, presumably, eggs also. This squirrel was at the base of the same tree the nest is in.

They had to contend with Northern Cardinals several times. Both the male and female Thrushes were involved in driving them away.

Here you can see the female on the nest and a male Cardinal in the background. I'm not sure what their interest was but I don't think it was simple curiosity.

They also had to drive off Robins and an Eastern Towhee. 

One that surprised me more than most was the Nuthatch. They are quite a bit smaller birds. I don't know what their interest was either, but she drove off one and after she left, this one moved in briefly, but didn't harm the eggs.

Meanwhile, a nesting Cardinal on the other side of the lawn had it's own problems to contend with.

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