Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring's First Casualty For 2009

Spring has sprung as they say but along with the fresh green growth and new babies we have our first casualty around the homestead here.

I've been doing some garden work in the backyard lately so I already knew there was a bird nest nearby. What kind of bird nest? I'm still working on that part, my best guess right now is a California Towhee (Pipilo crissalis). The colors, size and beak are close.

Anyhoo, every time I went near the ivy covered fence by the pool filter momma bird would scold me relentlessly. I figured something was wrong this time when momma and poppa's frantic chirps caught my attention since I wasn't even near the nest. A predator maybe? The neighbor's cat out for a tweety sammich?


It turned out to be a baby bird floating in the pool. It must have fallen in while eagerly trying to learn to fly. Mom and dad were hopping wire to limb encouraging the dead bird to get back up and out of danger with no luck.

I fished the baby bird out of the pool and gently laid it in the high garden grass. The parents seemed to lose sight of the bird when it was in the pool net and they went crazy trying to get sight of their lost kin again. Both birds flitted around the pool, landing on the mower handle, then the electric wires above for a better view.

Every spring us kids found baby birds dead or flopping around the yard after getting the heave ho out of their nest. What an introduction to the world, fly or get eaten. Wood ducks have it the worst I think, they get pushed out and fall several long feet into the wet water.

Gee, thanks Ma.

What a wake up call that must be.

The big lizard under the pool filter slab was the next one to turn up toes up, not sure what enticed him into the pool. He's the first one to commit Hari Kari in the water like that.

Hopefully, that's the end of the spring deaths, it's not fun to find baby anythings laying silent.

P.S. If you recognize that bird please post up in the comments here or drop me a line.



Anonymous said...


That is a California Towhee, you were right. How very sad. I have no idea if this would work for birds, but there's a device called the FrogLog which allows animals who fall in the pool to escape. It's kind of like a critter off-ramp. And, you probably know this, but for anyone else who might read this -- contrary to popular belief, baby birds that fall out of nests but are still okay, CAN be put back in (or in a makeshift nest nearby) and the parents will still accept it and feed it. Injured babies can often be rehabilitated by a wildlife care facility.


Jesses Hunting And Outdoors said...

Thank you Diana for the ID and FrogLog recommendation. I just found 2 young possums in the pool and need to do something to keep them from falling in and drowning. This is the first time finding critters in the pool like this so I'm not sure what's going on, been here 29 years now.

Here's the link for the FrogLog if anyone is curious.