Birds of Prey– Why the Rush?

Remember the images of the nesting Eagles dutifully tending their nest and eggs covered over in the snow the past few weeks?  It takes very dedicated parents to go thru an ordeal like that.  Why the rush?  Why start nesting so early before the weather has changed for the better, we wonder?  Most other birds wait until April or later to arrive at their summer breeding grounds and start to build nests.

Turns out, there’s a very good reason.  It’s all about rodent and other prey animal population control and giving the baby birds of prey an easier start in life.  It takes a long time for large raptors to grow big enough to be independent and hunt on their own.  An early start in the nest allows them the required time to grow and develop, while also insuring that when they are fledged and on their own, there will be a plentiful supply of prey animal babies emerging from their nests and running about at the same time to help make the raptors’ initial hunting forays a little easier and more successful.

The early bird gets the, ummm– baby mouse shall we say.   Check out today’s BirdNote for more.

The Lyric Wood Thrush

Of one of my favorite birds, Henry David Thoreau wrote–

“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”

The wood thrush’s beautiful, lyric songs echo thru deciduous forests in the eastern U.S. in spring and early summer.  A bit smaller than an American Robin, the wood thrush will occasionally nest in suburban areas where there are enough large trees.

Numbers have seriously declined in the past decades due both to loss of habitat and Cowbirds laying eggs in the wood thrush nests, with the result of the thrushes raising more cowbirds than their own species.  New preservation and protection zones in the Adirondacks, Smoky Mountains and Ozarks National Forest will hopefully help these beautiful singers to rebound.

Check out the BirdNote presentation to learn more and hear the song of this glorious singer→ the Wood Thrush.

Wood Thrush- via National Audubon Society, by Brian E. Small/VIREO

Wood Thrush- via National Audubon Society, by Brian E. Small/VIREO

 

Knitting Nests To Save Orphaned Baby Birds & Wildlife!

Little Red Bear and I have rescued a number of orphaned baby birds and other baby critters over the years. Are you a friend of the birds and like helping out? Do you knit or know someone who does? The NBC Nightly News on Saturday evening (August 23, 2014) featured wonderful work being done to rescue orphaned baby birds at a wildlife rescue center.

The name of the center is Wildcare and they are located in San Rafael, California in Marin, County. Each spring throughout the country, baby birds are orphaned while still in the nest due to severe weather and storms, tree trimming, flooding (for ground nesting birds, baby rabbits and such), lost parents, and other causes.

The Wildcare center has a “Baby Bird Nest Craft-along” project where people make knitted nests in various sizes (for different sized baby birds) and donate them to the center to help care for orphaned babies. The fabric nests serve as snug and cozy replacement nests while the baby birds are being cared for in the center, being the next best thing to real nests. The fabric nests retain heat and insulate against the cold, keeping the babies toasty warm (very important for baby birds!), and are soft for fragile little bodies, preventing injuries from the birds bashing against hard cardboard boxes and the like.

Wildcare has instructions for making the nests on their website. Knitting a bunch of little nests would make for a wonderful and rewarding project thru the upcoming cold winter months to have a supply ready to help out orphaned baby birds come next spring’s nesting season. If reading this outside the U.S. or if one did not want to send the knitted nests out to California, I am sure any local wildlife rescue organization in your area would be delighted to have these available for their use. I think the larger size would be perfect for baby rabbits, squirrels and such.

Here are some helpful links for more information and the patterns to download, along with the NBC news report to help get you going. Happy knitting! And thanks for helping the baby birds and critters! — Jim (and Red!)

Wildcare’s Main Site→ Wildcare Wildlife Rescue

Information On Making Knitted Nests→ Making Knitted Nests Patterns & Downloads

NBC News Feature→ NBC Nightly News Wildcare Feature 08-23-2014

Knitted Nests for Baby Birds, courtesy of Wildcare Wildlife Rescue Center

Knitted Nests for Baby Birds, courtesy of Wildcare Wildlife Rescue Center