The Bird’s Motel

The nature and desert serenity of Todd’s backyard should be the perfect setting to experience the beauty and joy of Spring. The trees and plants are lush with new growth. Buds are bursting out on the cactus and the smell of orange blossoms fill the air. Especially nice, every Spring, are the migratory birds that travel through the area! We see new faces ‘n’ feathers every year….but they don’t stay long. These travelers know a dark secret that most might miss amidst the flurry of Springtime merriment. And that, my friends, is…..murder! Yes…MURDER….

There is a sinister resident in Todd’s backyard, lurking among the spiny cholla, who set up the scene for murderous mayhem one twig at a time! Not quite a fairytale, her story is rather gory…

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It all started when the young bird carefully built her first nest, choosing an unassuming yet respectable place in a nice big cholla cactus.  She laid her eggs and waited for them to hatch…she was young and innocent then. So happy, when her chicks came into the world that spring day long ago! But, that very night, her beloved children were gone when she returned with food. All that was left, was one tiny leg and a pile of bloody feathers! Her heart was broken. So, she abandoned the first residence and she built another. This time, higher into the spines of the cactus…surely this would protect them from the evil that dwells in the night! But once again, her children were brutally killed, one before it even hatched!

birdhotel7The sites of the first 2 murders.

The grieving  mother’s sadness turned to madness! She must build another nest…and another and another if she had too! She told herself, she will have a child that will survive, and she will do everything in her power to see that happen!!  So she found another spot deep in the bowels of the cholla. There she built a fortress that could never be invaded by the forces of evil!

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She finally had a child, who she doted on until the day he left the nest. We will never know who committed those heinous crimes. But she does! Because now, unsuspecting young birds move into those nests and the monster returns to kill again!

And to this day, the mother still sits in her empty nest and waits…. and watches the horrors that come out at night, in Todd’s Backyard.

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Oh Baby!

The blistering desert heat seems to act as an incubator for all the baby birds! Everywhere we look, we can see full nests, or babies just leaving the nests. Baby doves wander up on the porch, seemingly tame. Probably because generations of their families have been born and raised just feet from where we humans hang out. The white wing doves seem to be the most prolific during the summer. They spend their summers here, just to have their babies, then they will leave and head further south for the winter.

Todd caught this picture just the other day! A pair of baby white wings….So ugly they’re cute!

‘Stripers’recently hatched quail chicks

The baby quail are thick! They are born in ‘stages’…The first ‘stagers’ hatch in May, the second ” around the first of July, and the third will show up around the end of August. So this time of year, we have two varieties of baby quail. The ‘stripers’ tiny striped balls of fuzz. And the ‘juniors’, gangly and half-grown, still following their parents around the yard. The family of 27 hatchlings we had several weeks ago, are now a mini horde of ‘juniors’. Unfortunately no longer 27 strong, but there are still a good 15 or 16!

Todd’s backyard also serves as nature’s nursery for other birds…the thrashers, orioles, sparrows, finches…More rare to see, are the baby cardinals…

So when we do see one, it’s a real ‘tweet’!