Nestcam day 10


Woops.  The soft-hearted should look away now.

It was the only one I actually found – and it still didn’t have proper feathers.  I gave it a decent burial during which I paid my respects.

Pause for gloom and disappointment.

By coincidence I am partway through Miriam Rothschild’s wonderful book about bird parasites (I coped fairly well with the fleas and lice, but weakened when I reached the flukes, leeches and worms).  She talks about the burden of parasites which birds carry and which in some cases makes the difference between survival and death.

In honour of the interest which she has aroused, I shook the nest out onto some paper.   I snapped one thingummy about ?6 mm long as it crawled off the edge of the paper.

Other inhabitants which were seeable were these maggotty things between 5 and 7mm long, and that looks a bit like empty pupa cases too, perhaps?

There were a significant number of these, but not being Miriam Rothschild I did not attempt to make a census.

I also saw one small black thingummy about 2 or 3 mm long.

It was interesting; but it would take more than Miriam to persuade me to examine the corpse.


9 responses »

    • Yes, the weather’s been horrible, cold wet and windy all together, and although I don’t have any data on this I seem to have seen fewer than normal of all the invertebrates except for slugs. And of course it must have told on the adult robins too – the nest wasn’t abandoned, and I saw a robin going in the garage from outside yesterday, but one parent could have had an accident or become sick. There is a terrible pathos about the whole brood being lost.

  1. Sorry things didn’t turn out well for the nestlings. Reminds me of two things: a couple of years ago I had been enjoying watching a pair of diligent blue jays who had built a nest in a tree above our driveway, but inexplicably they moved on, apparently driven off by some grackles, which is odd considering that blue jays are normally quite feisty. The other is that ten years ago a pair of cliff swallows had built a nest under the eave just outside the window of my home office (we lived in South Dakota at the time). It was fun seeing the progress of the little ones and their devoted parents, and I even blogged about it, with pictures. But after the fledglings abandoned the nest, I discovered just how buggy it was, and decided I’d better not let them do it again the next year.

      • Yes, I’m also reminded of that, poignantly, when ducklings disappear from their families in our neighborhood park, probably eaten by snapping turtles. But the mother ducks seem to take it in stride and press on with taking care of their remaining ducklings.

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