Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Life Wants to Be

Our newest additions
Those of you who have followed the blog know that it is time for the baby black vultures to appear.  They lay their eggs on bare ground in cavities, hollow stumps or outbuildings like our 100 year old barn.  They had us worried this year when after a long wait I saw an egg broken open and no chick.  The brooding bird got up a little to show the other egg but not the just hatched chick.  I say brooding bird because both sexes brood and determining male and female would require turning them over, embarrassing for the birds and risking their defensive vomiting on me.

I was startled yesterday to have the parent stand up to show me both chicks, cuddled together for warmth.  After 5 years with presumably the same parents, the adults are bored by my arrival and have learned to get up for pictures in order to make me leave.

Our bluebird boxes now have chicks and one has its second nesting of the year, having fledged the first set.  The one above is waiting for food, or maybe just encouraging its last sibling to come out of its shell.

Our Joplin correspondent Karsen sent the picture of a chickadee nest in a bluebird box.  You can tell if it is a chickadee nest without seeing the bird.  The eggs are speckled (similar to a nuthatch's) and the nest has a distinctive moss basement with a grass cup above with plant down and feathers lining it.

Killdeer nest - Karsen
Black vultures are not the only casual parents.  Karsen also sent me the killdeer nest above, part of a family he is photographing for a future blog.  We hope to have a family portrait soon.

* Karsen Bell is a 15 year old nature photographer from the Joplin area and a regular contributor to this blog.

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