Saturday, April 19, 2008

Your getting too big, son

Another shot of our Mourning Doves because there was a lot of drama around here this morning.

I woke up this morning and was photographing the family when I noticed that there was only one squab in the nest. Just a minute or two and about a half dozen shots after that, I heard a scratching sound and looked around outside the window but didn't see what was causing it. I noticed that the mom was getting pretty rattled and starting to sit up straight.

Then, I caught it out of the corner of my eye -- a squirrel, hiding behind the tree next to one the Mourning Doves were nesting in. He was making stealthy moves toward the nest, peaking around the tree every once in a while. His diabolical intentions were pretty plain. I then realized that he was probably the attacker of the other squab. I didn't want to think about that chick's fate.

I was wondering what to do -- I figured I had about 10 to 15 seconds to do something to stop a calamity. Not enough time to run outside. Then, I just instinctively started making a hissing sound that turned into more of a "tsk tsk tsk tsk" -- like a hiss and click at the same time. The squirrel stopped dead in his tracks, head down on the trunk where he had been inching closer to the nest. He didn't see me at first because I was sitting on the floor inside the window. But then he found my eyes and we stared at each other for a few seconds.

Suddenly, I burst out in another series of "tsk tsk tsk tsk" and made the most menacing face I could as I leaned into the open window. His eyes went wide open and fear pour out. He turned and scrambled up the tree and made his escaped jumping branch to branch, tree to tree. His scamper made Tarzan look whimpy.

I had done it. I had saved the squab. But, no time to celebrate. He will be back. Though I glanced out the window many times during the day, I can't be there all the time. The little guy has no idea how much terror lurks around him.

-- steve buser


Kate said...

Nature can be both beautiful and cruel. The maternal instinct of the mourning dove is wonderful...the squirrel's instincts were thwarted for awhile, but...You are my hero for scaring that damned squirrel away!!

Rambling Round said...

Sure hope the squirrel leaves them alone...another nice shot.

Halcyon said...

Are both of the babies still alive? glad you scared that nasty squirrel away. But it's true, you can't be around all the time.

USelaine said...

What beautiful birds! Like kate said, nature has its ways, but you were a hero for a day. Good work.

Jilly said...

Oh well done, Steve. What a hero! I'm loving this series - such amazing shots and what a privilege to see nature like this up close and personal.

Gwyn said...

Great photos! I've really enjoyed my visit.

Jules said...

I'm devastated - I had no idea that squirrels were carnivorous - I thought they ate bloody nuts!!!!
It can't be true - squirrels are those cute fluffy things that sit in trees and .......EAT BABY BIRDS!!!!!

Aaaaaaagh - life will never be the same!!!.......Are you sure you don't have some Mutant Killer Squirrels down there Steve???

Anonymous said...

In my 46 years of working with wildlife I have not seen a squirrel eat a young bird, with feathers, of any kind.

I would have guessed it was more curious than a killer on prowl. Cats in the neighborhood would be my number one suspect followed by birds like grackles, blue jays, and crows.

Sally said...

Looking forward to future updates, Steve. Thanks for visiting on my Blogbirth-day!
Sydney Daily Photo

Professor said...

this is a pretty bird!

Nathalie in avignon said...

Oh what a story!Looking the squirrel in the eye would have been quite an experience.

I hope you saved them for good and the squirrel doesn't come back but you're right, you can't be there all the time.
Let's keep our fingers crossed.