Fate, Luck and Nature

It has not been a good week for baby birds around here. It started with the strong gusting winds on Tuesday shaking the ash trees in the alley next door, the ash trees that contain the rook nests and noisy birds. Well, on our morning walk there was suddenly a flapping black baby rook on the narrow path, somehow between the dog and me.

Luckily, said dog (Sadie) was not that interested, but I had a hard time getting passed the baby bird to make sure there was no interaction, without herding it towards Sadie. Meanwhile, there was a lot of shrieking from above, where the parent rooks were sitting on the telephone lines trying to scare us off. Anyhow, once passed we moved on swiftly, hoping that the bird was just learning how to fly rather than it had been blown out of the nest prematurely.
Next day however, it turned out that the baby rook had died. It had fallen off the small foot bridge that crosses the ditch at the beginning of the alley, into the water below. Poor parents. There is also one less nest in the trees, but fortunately the other is still occupied and noisy.

On the same point of things falling out of the sky, on a different walk in Kent last week, it felt like it had been raining bumblebees. As we (the dog and I) climbed up the slope across the park, we encountered bumblebees lying dazed on the grass under cherry and maple trees. At first I thought they were satiated from nectar from the blossom, falling to the ground drunk as it were. Then I realised that the bees weren’t just restricted to the grass beneath the trees. What I now think, is that these bumblebees were emerging from hibernation in the ground. Maybe the slope and aspect make ideal conditions. I can’t say for certain that this is what I was seeing, but the bees did look like queens. Maybe someone else has seen this kind of spectacle before?


Back to a second sad story of baby birds meeting an early end. I had previously owned up to lifting the roof off a robin nest next to the greenhouse. (The roof was a module tray I was grabbing for some potting on). I return things to how they were and waited to see if I had scared the parents off. Luckily I hadn’t, because for the last week I have been watching two busy robins take insects to the nest while I work in the greenhouse. At each approach there is a corresponding twittering of excitement from beneath the trays. The parents were cautious of me, but bravely carried on. However, yesterday I had to bury four babies that I found scattered across the path, headless. The nest is empty. I think that it must have been a cat. There are several that stroll through the garden. So sad, just when I thought there was a happy end to that nest too!

Ending on a happier note, I saw the Barn Owl again today. It patrols the field containing the Diamond Jubilee wood.

owlIt appears to be using one of the nesting box the farmer has erected on his land. So fingers-crossed for a new family there.

And I found a four-leaved clover, so there will now be a run of good luck I am sure!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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8 Responses to Fate, Luck and Nature

  1. I once saw a grounded baby bird picked off by a hawk that I never realized was anywhere near; quite a shock. I did remind myself afterward that this is the way of the natural world and that the hawk probably had nestlings of its own to feed, given the time of year. I am so envious of your barn owl, because I have never seen one in the wild although I would dearly love to!

    • Yes I am very lucky that there are a few owls around here. We hear them at night, but it is certainly special to see one hunt. Barn owls have such great faces. Shame I didn’t have my camera, just a phone. Yes, I tell myself it is the cycle of life, but that cat (?) was just vicious.

  2. Chloris says:

    So sad about your dead baby birds. I read that cats kill 55 million birds a year in the UK which is an incredible number. I do not have a cat because I love birds. I do resent the neighbours’ s cats patrolling the garden though. Barn owls are definitely on the increase which is great.

    • Yes, I thought that the little robin family had been reprieved. It was so heartbreaking to find practically untouched bodies. Yay to more barn owls, because they are so spectacular.

  3. Julie says:

    That’s sad especially to find just the heads taken, sounds as if the predator was not hungry, so even more cruel. I have never seen Bees in the way you describe, the only thing similar is on a cold morning, occasionally we see Bumblebees slow to wake up and get going.

  4. Yes, it is funny when you find bumblebees just curled up, apparently asleep in flowers. It didn’t occur to me that they had spent the night on the stamen!

  5. That’s pretty gruesome about the baby robins – a good argument for keeping the cats inside. That’s cool about the owl, though.

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