Sunday, January 12, 2014

Outdoors -- first signs

Yes, I hate winter and I grasp at every sign of spring coming.

Friday I saw two.  First was that sunset came after 5 p.m.  I mean, that's the first sign that I thought of.

The second was the one I observed during the day; a large flight of blackbirds or starlings moving over my neighborhood.  They're starting to collect so they can divvy up the turf.  Then the males will select attractive nesting sites and call for the ladies to come look.  The ladies will look things over and stay if they like the prospects.  Then they'll start raising their first family of the year.

I know all the bird books talk about how many eggs in a typical clutch for a given species of bird but I'm not convinced that they raise more than one chick from each clutch.

However, they will lay two or three clutches a year and if they raise only one chick from each clutch, that's two or three replacement birds a year.  Then since birds live five to twelve years, a mating pair has a chance to replace themselves three to eight times over. 

Mockingbirds lay their first clutch some time in February and raise up to three chicks a year.  You can tell because when the chick is ready to get out of the nest, the male makes great raucous demonstrations against squirrels and even pets in the area.  Although they won't attack people except for strangers.  Anyway mockingbirds generally get very tough two or three times a year.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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