Feathers and Fisticuffs.

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After the over-long, cold and snowy Winter and chilly Spring, I know I did state on the record that I would not complain about any Summer heat wave.  Alas, I have broken that promise several times over.

The weather the last four or five days has been downright oppressive.  When I stepped out of the house for my walk, it was 73 degrees with high humidity once again.  It felt more like the Dog Days of August.  Whew!

Tomorrow, not surprisingly, the atmosphere is unstable due to the dregs of Tropical Storm Alberto and our intense heat, and we’re looking at torrential rainstorms and the threat of severe weather; even the word “tornado” is being bandied about.

I returned to Council Point Park today and had not been there since last Friday due to Saturday’s rain and exploring other venues the rest of the long holiday.  There were a few walkers on the path, and even a few runners, huffing and puffing along when they whizzed past me.  I did not intend to move that fast, I was just there for to get three loops done, and with my walk to and from the Park, thus garner another five miles toward my final goal.

I believe this heat and humidity has similarly affected the critters at Council Point Park, because the squirrels did not come over for our morning meet-and-greet ritual until my third time around that loop … hmmm, so what’s up with these slackers?  But, when about a half-dozen of them finally spied me, they soon were scampering over to get some peanuts dropped at their feet, like they were princes.

Soon thereafter, a cardinal alighted on a low branch, eager to scam a peanut that the squirrels might have missed.  But the squirrels were quick to take two peanuts at a time today, and the cardinal made three swoops, but came away empty-handed, er … beaked.

The geese were in a fractious mood this morning.  I walked past several groups of them grazing near the perimeter path and there was no reaction on their part as I ambled by.  But, on the third time around, when I was feeding the squirrels, (along with the cardinal and red-winged blackbird, who insist on interjecting themselves into this feeding frenzy), a goose family planted themselves on the pathway.  The gander guided his family down the path in my direction.  Just like yesterday, the “lead” goose took the initiative to goosestep over my way, head down, even though I had long since passed him and his mate and offspring.  I ignored him as he advanced, ever closer, and then I was treated to the pink tongue and hissing and some wing flapping.  It came out of the blue and I was miffed, so I moved on, because something had set him off and I didn’t want to tangle with him.

At the Park today, I checked on the status of my little robin family.  This is the third robin family that I’ve followed in the month of May.  You’ll recall that I’ve been monitoring this Mama Robin sitting on the nest and I was unsure if she was incubating the eggs, or protecting her babies with her body.

I monitored that nest every time I walked at the Park, though the branch where this twiggy home tweet home nest was built, was a tad taller than me, necessitating my needing to stand on tiptoes if I wanted to catch a glimpse of what was going on inside the nest, (and, that was only if Mama was out foraging for food for the youngsters).

At the tail end of last week, I discovered the hatch had indeed occurred, and I was treated to the sight of several tiny beaks pointing toward the sky as the babies awaited Mama Robin’s return with grubs and worms.

First, I must provide a brief backstory here so you know why I have entitled this blog post “Feathers and Fisticuffs”.

There is a bully bird in the Park, and more than once I have caught him chasing Mama Robin off the nest.  He came over and swooped dangerously close to Mama, then she retaliated with a flurry of her wings and some loud chattering, to which that red-winged blackbird responded in kind.  They even continued their argument on another branch, facing off against one another,  each one puffed up in fighting stance.  I’ve come upon this confrontation twice, and the second time I managed to get photos of the fight, though admittedly, they are not close-up because the fracas began and ended in less than a minute and my camera was in its pouch at the onset of the fray.

robin

RWB

Last Friday when these photos were taken, once again I neared the tree where the nest is located and saw the chicks but no Mama near the brood.  This was because she and the red-winged blackbird were duking it out again.  They were noisy and much wing fluttering had ensued.  Another robin appeared on the scene and there were two robins and the ornery red-winged blackbird, each puffed up and each very vocal.  I decided to referee and threw some peanuts onto the ground, whereupon the red-winged blackbird, decided peanuts were preferable to misappropriating a robin chick and he flew to the ground to feast on them.

Whew!  I felt like I saved the day.

Meanwhile, the chicks were cheeping and peeping for their Mama and she had just undergone a harrowing experience, but, being the ever-protective mom, she hurried over to the nest, checked on her chicks, then flew off, returning a few minutes later with food for the brood.  Evidently, Mama Robin felt confident the pesky red-winged blackbird had fled the scene, clasping not one, but two peanuts in its sharp beak, and he would not return.

The sun was filtering through the trees and illuminating the chicks in the nest, making their still undeveloped features look almost translucent.

THREE BEAKS WITH SUN COMING THRU.jpg

Below are a few photos of Mama Robin getting food, then feeding her young – I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I did watching them.

I stood and watched Mama  Robin fly off to find some food.  When she returned, first, she’d land on a branch, then proceed to the nest with a mouthful of wiggly worm or squirming bug.

MAMA WITH SOME FOOD1

 

MAMA WITH SOME FOOD

Once at the nest, she’d drop that morsel into one eagerly awaiting mouth, then fly off to find food for the next hungry chick.

MAMA WITH A CATERPILLAR IN MOUTH

MAMA FEEDING BABIES

I’m glad these sweet chicks did not meet their fate due to the bully red-winged blackbird.  Mama made sure to nip that in the bud!

MOM ON NEST WITH ONE BABY.jpg

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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30 Responses to Feathers and Fisticuffs.

  1. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………I love the pictures of the mama robin giving “food to the brood”……………awesome

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – she went and got food so quickly, returned and fed each one, then flew off again. But never far – wherever the food source is, trees for grubs, or ground for worms, but she’d return and there were those chicks with their open mouths the entire time. Just a sight to see.

      Like

  2. Fred Bailey says:

    Great photos as usual. i don’t know whether to call you an Earth Mother or the Peanut Queen.
    Fred

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ha ha. I think either one would fit Fred. Glad you liked the photos – I knew the two birds shooting daggers at one another was a little fuzzy, but I wanted to show how they puffed up and squared off. I think he is the same red-winged blackbird that terrorized a family of Canada geese last year. The Canada geese are also cantankerous sometimes, but mostly if they think you’ll hurt their young or get near a nest. But this bird just went ballistic on a family of geese and I happened to be walking by … the reverse of the expression “pick on someone your own size”
      https://lindaschaubblog.net/2017/07/17/yikes-those-ol-bully-birds/

      Like

  3. John says:

    Beautiful pictures of the cute birds.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked them John. I was fascinated watching the mother, just minutes after this ordeal with the bully bird, and she checked the babies, then flew off for food. I am not sure if I hung around to make sure the red-winged blackbird didn’t come back as much as to take pictures of them getting fed. 🙂 So cute!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susieshy45 says:

    Linda,
    What a story- story of survival. I do love a story with a happy ending, even if the ending was helped by elves or in this case, a fairy.
    This is stuff good tales are made of.
    God bless !

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked this story Susie. That mother robin seemed very resilient to me … out fighting a bird who wants to hurt her babies, then five minutes later, she has calmed down and is feeding them. These are the nice stories in nature … but look what you did with that kitty the other day. You rescued it from sure death if someone had started their car and rolled over it, and a few hours’ rest in a safe haven and it was ready to play and be your pal. God bless you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    The weather has been something. From one extreme to the other. I too try not to complain but then I think “this is Michigan where everyone complains about the weather”.
    I love how you intervened and distracted the black bird so momma robin could take care of her babies. You are a hero!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think the heat has already worn out its welcome with me Ruth … and now we’ll get the bad storm later today or early evening and I am not surprised by that at all … three days of rain and storms off and on should help you out and save you some effort and money watering.

      I was glad I came by at the right time to help out Momma and her brood and distract the red-winged blackbird. He is a menace and should be kicked out of the Park in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        Yes we could use some rain right now while the strawberries are developing. An inch of rain would probably be good – two inches is probably too much – but it’s out of our control. We just have to be ready to deal with or accept what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Our weather has become a guessing game Ruth. I am happy to see it will be cooler this weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Mama looks so sweet with the little fledglings! She is a very good mother! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      She does doesn’t she Tom? Those little darlings fledged yesterday so I’m going to be doing one last post about them. Very sweet and I’ll miss seeing them and monitoring their progress. Now, I’m off into this tropical weather … 75 degrees already!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. They grow so fast!

    Like

  8. I loved your description of your feathered friend. You have such a way with words ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks for saying that Zena. I will have one more baby robins “progress report” – they have fledged and now I won’t see them anymore. Today I am going to do a goose story because something happened in the news here about a goose, so I’ll tie it in – tomorrow I’ll revisit the robins. I have taken some cute shots of them learning to fly (or trying to). Thanks for your kind comments. Once all the baby birds and geese are gone, I hope I don’t run out of things to write about!

      Like

      • Oh I really admire your dedication to sharing your daily experiences through your blog. I love entering your world through your words ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thanks Zena – I am glad I am painting a good picture of my walk and you feel like you are walking with me. When I first started walking, my good friend and next-door neighbor, and also the person who encouraged me to start this blog, was just having symptoms of beginning COPD. She got bronchitis quite a bit, and every time she got a cold, she ended up having a week-long stay in the hospital. Finally, about three years ago she became tethered to oxygen 24/7/365 so rarely left the house. I started going to places where she loved to go – like Elizabeth Park (where I was on Monday) and also down to the Riverfront, and I would write about it in detail, trying to recreate the walk in part for Marge. Sadly she passed away last August. But I like doing the walk and the pictures and bringing it to life.

        I just published the post about the last of the baby robins. I enjoyed watching that nest and taking pictures of the Mama and her babies – they grew up so fast, and now they have left the nest so I’ll have to go back to writing about my pals the squirrels more often. 🙂

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      • Bless you. What a lovely thing that your neighbour encouraged you to do this blog and you must have given her an insight into the world that she could no longer access as well due to her illness. You are a true earth angel .

        Looking forward to hearing more about the squirrels. I really love your blogs ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  9. AJ says:

    Glad you could save the robin babies:)
    What’s your final goal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Me too AJ! Every year I try to walk at least one more mile than the prior year. Last year my goal was 755 and the weather was so nice in the Fall and up to the last two weeks in December, I was able to walk 1,050 miles. So, this year, my goal is 1,051 … I don’t know if it is doable though. In today’s blog I’m going to say that I have 697 more miles to go in 7 months which might be difficult, especially if we keep having all this stormy weather. Sigh. I’ll be bummed if I don’t reach it, but then again, I was way above and beyond my normal goal last year, so I guess I’ll get over it. 🙂 (And 2018 is not over yet.)

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  10. Those are amazing pictures! I have seen a few baby birds in the nest over my porch light over the years, and a few feedings, but not so close up. One year I was trying to watch them while they took their first flight when a truck pulled in next door and scared them so they flew but I don’t think they were quite ready for flight yet, as they just hopped along on the ground in the driveway….and eventually hopped away…..but I worried about what happened to them after.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joan – I am glad you enjoyed them. That tiny robin on the ground had my heart … I worried about him, yet was scared to walk back in case I saw him lying there – he had such a cute yet disgruntled look. I also forgot until I had shut off the computer that a friend of mine in Richmond, Virginia discovered a robin’s nest on her back porch – it is a small porch and she had to pass the nest every time she put her dogs outside. She took pictures of the eggs, then the after the hatching and we watched the progress of those hatchlings … they met a sad demise though. A snake came and snatched the babies … I had documented their growth through those photos over several posts. I totally forgot about these robins … I’d be happy to find them too and send them to you. I don’t want to inundate you with posts, but I’m happy to send them along.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s okay Linda – you’re so busy plus I don’t want to get to know them if they met a sad demise!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s okay Joan – I am never too busy for you … this is the post, and I am sending it because I said I was a bleeding heart and I showed some pictures of our family pets growing up, then I told what happened and showed the snake. I showed the last picture, taken just that morning of the robin babies in the nest. My friend Evelyn took a picture with her phone every morning and I would wait every few days and post their “development” … they grew from scrawny (and rather homely) chicks to nice feathered baby birds … we were both sad. I wrote about three sets of robins in the Spring plus the baby who fell out of the tree … I was sorry to see them fledge as I was constantly looking to see what they were doing: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/05/15/yes-i-am-a-bleeding-heart/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Linda…..what a tale! I was wondering how the snake could have gotten the baby bird from the nest. I’m not that familiar with snakes – do they only slither along the ground, or can they climb? You have had some unfortunate experiences with your dogs too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ve only seen a couple of snakes in my life Joan and that was last year at Lake Erie Metropark when I took a guided tour on the Cherry Island Trail and the guide mentioned these little “chimneys” in the dirt. It turns out they belong to crayfish who come out of the water and go into them (like a burrow). The snakes also use the crayfish chimneys as a place to slither into. I mentioned I’d never seen a snake so when we returned from the tour, he took me into the museum to see their snakes. That’s it for my snake experience. My parents rented a cottage for two weeks in northern Michigan in 1968. There was a big snake outside the cottage and my father saw it when he was outside in the area around the cottage. He grabbed an axe and killed it … I didn’t see it. He told my mom and I about it. I understand that snakes can climb and I’ve seen pictures on Twitter just a few weeks ago, where people showed pictures of snakes climbing up to an outside door handle and they said “sure we have cold and snow, but we don’t have these – OMG!” Evelyn was braver than I would be – I’d likely have screamed and ran back into the house. Those baby birds were cute at that point -if you look back at the recent posts before then you’ll see how they emerged from the eggs and were really scrawny and featherless. I had hoped Evelyn would see them fledge and capture it as well to share in blog posts. I felt badly about those babies – what a fate to meet. Yes, we did not have a good track record with dogs growing up – that’s why we always had birds. We had luck with birds, but no more of them for me either as it is too sad when they pass away. I just Googled “image of a snake climbing up a door” and came up with lots of images. This pest removal service shows this scary shot – I was amazed Grady scaled the wall … I would not like to see this happen with a snake, so yes, as much as I don’t like the snow/ice/cold, I would not want to see snakes. I have a friend I went to high school with and she lives in Cary, North Carolina … lots of snakes slithering around their house foundation, they have to be mindful when walking out of the house … our climate looks better and better every day: http://www.snake-removal.com/climb.html

        Liked by 1 person

      • It just seems strange to me that a snake could slither up to a high nest? We don’t have snakes here, Thank God! at least none that I have ever seen. I will go back and look at the baby birds progress when I get a chance….

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I know, it sickened me to see that picture as well – I knew there would be pictures out there on the internet of snakes climbing up a wall or scaling a door. I guess it does not peel their skin off to climb up the bricks – that surprises me that they would not get abrasions from doing that. I’d have a heart attack if I saw that snake on the outside of the house – I’d likely never go outside again. I am ecstatic to hear that the Polar Vortex has killed off 95% of various invasive bugs (including stinkbugs which are an epidemic across the U.S.) … hope centipedes and spiders are included in that category.

        Liked by 1 person

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