Monday, June 12, 2017

MURDER IN TINY TOWN


They were not new to town but had been here the year before looking for a home. The young couple were full of hope and optimism. The place they found stood on an acre of ground that would suit them well.

The home they build was finished just in time when the triplets arrived. Oh they were so happy as were their neighbors.  Everyone was delighted with the  young couple and their cute younguns.

The triplets grew steadily and all was looking good for the happy family. Then life took a dark turn.

One day when the father asked the mother to help him gather some food for the day, she hesitated leaving the babies even for a little. However he reasoned, "They are sleeping and we will be close by. It will be fine."  So off they went. Life was good.

What happened next I am not sure nor are they but their world collapsed quite quickly.  Some monster or monsters stole into their little bungalow, ransacked it and kidnapped the babies. They were helpless infants and there was no mercy.

When the parents returned this was all they found.


The babies were gone, most likely they were devoured.  The young couple had been a happy pair of Phoebes but their three babies are no more.  This is the second infant bird murder I have had since I have been here. The first involved a snake in a bird box.

I am wondering what got them. Where is bird CSI when you need them? The nest was on top of a light fixture under my porch.

I have had a trio of red bellied woodpeckers hitting my hummingbird feeder this year. Last year's poacher brought two of his buddies with him this year. I understand woodpeckers will eat baby birds. I hope it wasn't them for then that makes me an accomplice.

This was him last year. 
I have no idea what got the babies unless it was a bird.  Any ideas? Not sure how a snake could have gotten up there.  I do have a resident squirrel. Life can be hard when you are low on the food chain.

Mom and Dad have started over once more around the corner on a similar light fixture. I would hate that the same thing happen to them again. I would like to protect them so if you have any ideas on that, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks.

47 comments :

  1. Look away. Nature can be so cruel.

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    Replies
    1. Annie,
      I know you are right and as long as I don't see it I'm good.

      Delete
  2. I had that happen right in front of my eyes. I had watched the babies and parents over the weeks. Then one day a Blue Jay came under my window awning and one by one took the babies away. After the first one, I was pounding on the glass and yelling but it didn't phase that murdering bird. I felt so sad for the parents when they came back. They were clearly distressed and that was the last nest that was ever built there.

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    1. Jean
      Oh how awful to actually see that. I didn't see them return, only the wrecked nest the next day.

      Delete
  3. I am so sorry to learn of the murder right under your nose, so to speak. Granny is right: nature is cruel. We must kill to eat, and as you say, being low on the food chain is brutal. I sure wish you could figure out what killed them so you could make it safer for the phoebes. Sigh. :-(

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    Replies
    1. Djan,
      I guess I just have to realize that what ever ate them probably had babies of their own to feed. Sigh.

      Delete
  4. I agree with Granny Annie. Sad but not really human business. Phoebes usually have two broods of about five babies per brood each year. They are not endangered. Think of the nestlings as being recycled. Grackles and Jays are notorious nest robbers. We can't guard our loved ones 24/7. Nature's police blotter must be hundreds of pages long.

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    1. Out to Pasture,
      I'm sure you are right about that police blotter. I know the killers are only doing what they must to survive--just hate being aware of it.

      Delete
  5. That is nature's way I guess. Interesting thoughts, warm greetings.

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    1. Blogoratti,
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You are right of course.

      Delete
  6. Always a sad thing to see, and it happens all the time. Not sure how to protect a nest from predation, but I think there are probably articles on the internet about it. There is an interesting thing happening on Vancouver Island right now. A Red-tailed hawk baby is being raised in an Eagle's nest. It is believed to have gotten there by being taken out of its nest by the eagles for food for their brood. It has been surmised that perhaps the baby hawk cried for food and the eagle parents couldn't resist. It's much smaller than the eagle babies, and could still face a difficult time. But it looks ready to fledge in about a week. Some stories have good endings. I'm hoping.

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    Replies
    1. robin,
      Wow, what a story. I googled it and it is amazing. I just hope it survives sibling rivalry. Thanks for the head's up.

      Delete
  7. I did a little poking around and found a few possible suspects, "snakes, jays, crows, chipmunks, mice, and House Wrens." Not sure if this helps but didn't find anything pointing to the Woodpeckers.

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    Replies
    1. Jimmy,
      Thanks for poking around and bringing up the possible culprits. Sure hope it wasn't the Woodpeckers since I introduced them to the area with sugar water.

      Delete
  8. Dear Patti, I don't know much--if anything--about birds or nests or predators of birds. But I trust you will find some answers and will do what you can to protect these Phoebes. Peace.

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    Replies
    1. Dee,
      They do have another family going and I just hope this lot makes it. They moved away from the first nest site but I don't think far enough. We will see.

      Delete
    2. Dear Patti, please keep us updated! Peace.

      Delete
  9. My only experience in this field is a wife with broom wanting to clear out a phoebe nest on our porch due to poopiness. I assured her they were an "endangered species" covered by Federal Law and severe penalties. They all lived happily ever after...:)

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    1. TB
      I can see your wife's point. They really are messy but I just hit it with a power hose. Nice move you pulled:))

      Delete
  10. Oh, how sad. No ideas to pass along though. We have a hummer feeder, and I also know that there are woodpeckers near by. Haven't seen them to for my hummingbird feeder. At least not yet! That's a great photo of the woodpecker!

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    Replies
    1. Carole,
      Last year was the first time I have ever seen a Woodpecker at a hummer feeder but the word is spreading. He brought two of his buddies with him this year. They really can slurp up the nectar.

      Delete
  11. Sorry, but I can't offer any advice. Nature can be cruel.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen,
      Sadly it can be. Wonder if we learned from them or them from us?

      Delete
  12. As much as I love my little backyard birds --I get upset when 'nature' takes over --and something happens to the birds, their babies or the eggs... We had a snake get into the bluebird nest box once ---so we added another baffle on the pole (we have two baffles now). That has worked --but snakes can go most anywhere... I think it was probably a snake getting your baby birds.... Not sure ---but jut a gut feeling.. SO SORRY.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      Glad you solved your snake problem. I had one of those also and my baffle system so far has worked. They keep us busy.

      Delete
  13. I have no idea, but everyone has to eat and in nature it often turns to bloody murder. Just this morning, I saw two tiny birds, mom and dad birds, harass a raven away from their babies. I have seen little birds sit on the ravens in flight and peck at their necks. Maybe the Phoebes learned a lesson and will not leave their nest alone the next time.

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    1. Inger,
      I too have seen little birds pounding on a big one. Weird sight. I cheer them on but it is probably too late for their babies by then.
      You would think they would hunt in shifts but most of the time the nest is untended. That is something they need to work on.

      Delete
  14. Red-bellied woodpeckers have been videotaped eating baby birds as have other large birds such as Blue Jays, etc. And we all know a snake can get at almost anything.

    I agree with the others. I empathize with the individual birds, but at the end of the day it is a cycle of nature.

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    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      Ouch, I was afraid of that. The hummer feeder that the woodpeckers frequented was only 10 feet away from the nest. Had I known, I could have moved or removed the feeder.

      Delete
  15. Oh I'm so sorry! As others have said, nature can be so cruel. And as I told my children often as they grew up...sometimes life just isn't fair.

    Eileen

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    1. Eileen,
      I know and I am aware, I just have to witness nature in action. I grew up on the Disney version.

      Delete
  16. Even though you have no control over what will happen to the next batch of baby birds, you have every right to feel awful about the "murder". It does make one think of all the things over which we have no control.

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    1. Linda R,
      You are right. I just long for the day when a lion lays down with a lamb--though I did read somewhere that the lamb might not get much sleep.

      Delete
  17. Oh good gosh, Patti! You totally had me. I was at the edge of the seat wondering if this was a book you read or something that actually happened in your town. Arrrrghhh...

    It is awfully sad though. The same thing happened to the four little baby bunnies outside our door a long time ago. My kids were watching them grow in our yard. And then one day, a cat came and decapitated them all. We found pieces of them all over. I had to hide them from our kids. Sigh... Nature can be hard.

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    1. Kay,
      Oh how gross. Cats do seem to find the head a delicacy. My dog just kills and leaves them intact. Guess it is better to eat the kill rather than just killing for the fun of it like she does. Sigh.

      Delete
  18. So sorry about the babies sweet Patti. I know baby birds being murdered and eaten is part of nature, but it still makes me sad. All of the baby birds at my place this year have been stolen and eaten by crows. They have built a nest in a tall pine in my backyard and taken over so other birds have stopped coming around much. Robins and crows is about all I see now. :( Hugs

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  19. Maggie,
    Aww, you literally have a murder of crows. So sorry that gang is ruining the neighborhood for the rest. I know it is the circle of life but it is hard to watch.

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  20. OH MY...When I first started reading it, I seriously thought I was reading a review of a murder mystery. I even thought " Wow ..what a wonderful review"...I loved this blog and this post.

    Regards
    Shalet

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    1. Shalet Jimmy,
      I am delighted that you enjoyed my post. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Delete
  21. You might ask Tabor...she would know.

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  22. Late again, as Marilyn just left.
    We have crows in the neighborhood and I really hate crows. They sloop out of nowhere and grab the songbirds. They leave the bones in the birdbath. What's that all about? Tonight I threw some kitchen scraps out for the chickens and a crow was perched on top of the coop, waiting for me to leave. I fooled him and waited until the scraps were devoured. Ha ha crow....go out to the highway and eat road kill.
    A cute story. (but a little sad)

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    1. Belva,
      How awful to see the tiny bones in the bird bath. They must bathe after eating. Nice job foiling the crows. There is plenty of road kill for them.

      Delete
  23. Oh, so sad. The animal kingdom has its own rules I guess but they seem very touch on the smaller species.

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  24. We see the food chain of nature all arounf us. When a bird over the waterswoops down for a fish we hardlt whince. Some even go fishing or hunting. Yes is is sad but as you see the two parents know they must try again. All creation is driven that way.
    However I do sense your sadness and hope the next brood may make it to adulthood.

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  25. So sad. I hear the Mockingbirds raising a ruckus and dive-bombing crows trying to raid their nests. Years ago I watched thru our patio glass doors baby hummingbirds being hatched. Apparently when they were ready to fly they had to swoop down cause we came home one day to find them both laying on the patio. Our dog, coincidentally a bird dog we had rescued from the pound, must have caught them. Broke my heart.

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  26. I don't have any birds nesting where I can watch. I have often wanted to put up some kind of bird boxes and now I think maybe not. So sad and it is true, nature is cruel.

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