Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Natural Selection In My Backyard

There's an interesting phenomenon going on on my backyard.

This is a bird's nest (presumably a sparrow like bird) that is currently situated in a tree in by back yard. There was a nest in almost this exact location last year. And last year, multiple eggs fell from that nest, only for the nest to later fall from the tree, infested by ants. This year, the nest in the picture has already lost at least one egg.

There is, however, another local bird that seems to be a little smarter when it comes to nest location and construction.

Here you can see a bird (sparrow, or something of the like) safely nestled in her nest. The nest is constructed in a wooden crate in which we keep supplies for out cars. The nest is constructed from leaves, pine needles and metal foil amidst several bottles of motor oil. Above this is an old Tim Kaine yard sign that I had randomly placed there, which is weighed down by wire and garden shears. This whole crate is placed on top of a small refrigerator on our patio, underneath an overhang. The whole thing is very secure. It is relatively safe from the elements, would take a major earthquake to topple and thus far has been untouched by predators.

Here's a close-up. The nest is comprised of one large compartment, somewhat exposed to the air, and a smaller comparment, of perfect size for bird and eggs.

And here are the eggs. I noticed them a little over a week ago, before the first nest lost its egg. So far, these eggs seem to be doing just fine.

I think it's cool to see a bird who has chosen an incredibly good nesting location successfully care for her eggs, which will, possibly, give way to three more birds with an eye for fine nesting locations.

I look forward to seeing how this plays out. I guess if we need motor oil before fall, it's off to the store for us.


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