Better Birds than Bats in the Belfry or...

By David Helme

What do you do when someone sends you a link to some fake news?
Send some bird photos and stories.
Dear __________,
Thank you for the link.
May is a good month for birdwatching.

This year wrens nested in the backyard. Toshie was in the yard when the nestlings left the bird house. The family of five is still together. We see them following each other, flitting from branch to branch when we are out in the yard. Sometimes we see them from the kitchen window, hopping around the honeysuckle. They are always moving. When they are near the window you can see them clearly. Wrens have given us our best bird story. Maybe you recall me telling it.

Photo by Dennis Shouldiice.

Photo by Dennis Shouldiice.

They were nesting in the front yard. The birdhouse was on the katsura tree not far from the window. From the dining room window, we watched mom and dad coming and going, feeding their many nestlings, which were down deep in the bottom of the box. Toshie watched the birds vigilantly hoping to see them come out. One morning after they had been fed, they left the house one by one and flew into a nearby rhododendron. There were five of them. The last one teetered on the edge of the hole and dropped to the ground, tumbling all the way down. It was tense. I could barely stand the drama. Then the little guy or gal, started walking over to the rhodo where his brothers and sisters were waiting. Mom and dad were not far away. Then this little runt of a bird started to walk up the trunk of the rhodo and kept climbing until it was with the others. After a while they all flew off, following their parents.

This year in the same tree we have been watching a humming bird feed her two chicks. The nest is a round cup, well-camouflaged with bits of lichen. The mother will be away for 20 – 30 minutes at time before returning to feed them. That’s when you can see the chicks best, as they strain upwards with their mouths open. Their beaks are still undeveloped. The mother has put some fluffy material over them like a blanket and fluffs it up before she turns and zooms off. We think they will leave the nest in a week or so.

A neighbour, Dennis, took this photo of the hummingbirds. He’s got quite a camera.

Photo by Dennis Shouldiice.

Photo by Dennis Shouldiice.

Bird watching in the park is good too. With our new binoculars we have seen heron nestlings. They nest in the tops of the fir trees. They are now big and flapping their wings in the nest. Their parents fly over the house on their way to their fishing grounds. We assume some of them are going out to Esquimalt Lagoon. They are flying in that direction anyway. Overheard they fly a little sideways and rise and fall when there is an onshore breeze, as you can imagine.

Love, David.

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