I know it's been months since I posted, and I have no excuse, but it was a cold and dreary winter, and garden-wise there wasn't much going on except for the winter vegetables. The lettuces did spectacularly this year, and I was practically begging neighbors and friends to come and get some. Here's the final carrot harvest so I could make way for the tomatoes and peppers.
For 2 weeks the 'dad' bird constantly brought food to 'mom' on the nest. It became obvious that the eggs had hatched when one day I noticed that both mom and dad were bringing food to the nest--it was so cute to watch them take turns, sometimes both arriving at the same time and one waiting patiently on the fence top while the other one poked bugs into the invisible hungry mouths. About 2 weeks after the feeding began, both birds one morning became very animated, hopping up and down on the porch railing under the nest and singing loudly as if to say, "Okay kids, it's time to fly." By this time I had begun to see 1 or 2 little heads peeking out from the nest hole. After about 20 minutes of encouragement, the first one ventures out but isn't sure if he wants to try it.
His first flight is about 6 feet to the fence.
And within the next 10 minutes all 5 babies had taken wing, with mom and dad following them around the yard anxiously and noisily. The birds got very used to me and I felt privileged to have been a bird 'auntie.'
Finally, as one who is constantly on the hunt for leaf-footed bugs on my tomatoes, I have to share a discovery with you. One morning on a pink poppy plant that had grown up in the patio I found adult, juvenile and hatchling leaf-footed bugs and promptly killed them. A couple of hours later I looked again and there were more hatchlings--same process. I've probably eliminated about 100 of these bugs on the poppy plant in the last week. Next year I will plant poppies much closer to where the tomatoes are growing to take advantage of this new-found trap!