Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Magnificent Acre - Butchie Update & Common Yellowthroat

These Common Yellowthroats were on The Magnificent Acre July 24, 2010. The male and female were together in the alder scrub. There is a strip of shrubs on the west side of the vast salt marsh. It seems to be almost a giant net 'catching' birds when they cross the marsh. The strip of alders, honeysuckle and choke cherries is backed by the road. After crossing the marsh, the birds land in the small trees before crossing the road. I can sit in my car listening to the radio and just wait for them. But, why do that when I can sneak around trying to find them while suffering mosquitoes and walking amongst the Poison Ivy? That's how I roll!
    I visited "The Magnificent Acre" yesterday to check up on The Butchie Boys. When I arrived at the nest, my hear sank. "Oh no! They've flown away and I missed the send off!" I lamented aloud to no one,  my words trailing off into the woods. I wondered how I could have been so dense as to miss a huge cue that they were taking off. Since their parents had been spending so much time enjoying the Totman Cove Take-Out, they were not taking fresh meat to the boys. That meant that the boys would be hungry, thus provoked to try to fly.
     But, then, I saw them. They were sitting up in the tree away from the nest. They looked like big, chocolate lumps hidden in the White pine boughs. It was difficult to photograph them, or even get a clear view due to the pine needles.They had each moved far enough out onto the limbs that if a good wind comes up, they'll plummet to the ground onto their fat cans. The two of them are bigger now than their Mom, Madame Butchie. Eaglets surpass their parents' size just before they fledge. They've been sitting around not moving while getting fatter and fatter gorging on fish and chips delivered.
     When I watch T.V. shows on obesity in children, I'm appalled by the co-dependencies of the parents. After all, an obese child is being supplied with lousy, pork-butt producing food by its parents. They don't get there on their own, at least not to start with most of the time (there are some disorders where children are obese unrelated to consumption). Watching these eagles balloon over the past month has made me realize that this may be more of a natural phenomenon than I have realized. We are humans. One thing that separates us from the animal kingdom is that we ascribe values to end results, like socially unacceptable,fat children.
     Eagles fatten up because when they leave the nest, they don't have hunting skills, yet. The fat has to carry them until they get good at catching food or spotting, say a dead seal carcass. So, maybe there is some valuable outcome for rotund children leaving home barely able to walk. Hopefully, the Butchie Boys will be chubby enough to one day fly down the Kennebec River for dinner at the Totman Cove Take-Out. I'll be open and learning to be less judgemental.
  This is The Butchie Boys' junk food diet remains. Think of it like fast food wrappers lying around a sofa. Under the nest were these uneaten parts of a Herring gull. The gull would have been caught and brought to the boys by the parents. The bone was the leg (I think). Birds have hollow bones to lighten them for flying. There were other bits of bone around and loads of feathers.

(No, I mean it, literally the end of the Herring Gull)
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  1. Hey Robin...sorry you didnt get to see the "Butchie Boys" off after all this time you have kept a focus on them!! : {
    Well it a good thing they didnt have the white head yet they would have looked like chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top!!! ; }
    You have done a great series on the has been very interesting... Well done !!
    Those warblers are real cuties!!!

  2. Now, if the Butchie Boys were really clever they would continue to be dependent on their "Take-Out" service...a treehouse B&B! Their talons are catching up with mom's!

  3. Thank you, G.G. and H.G.,
    I may still get my 'shot' at the Butchies' maiden voyage. Wish me luck! I really like the idea of a treehouse B&B!

  4. Oh yes,you do have neighbors.Great photos of the little warbler,boys,and love the mink.When our grandson fished down front he ofton saw a solo mink,never more than one.You remember when we saw the mink.

  5. Joe and I really enjoy your blogs. Boy, how far you have gone!

    xxoo Heather