Baby season is over for the local birds. I have a big window in my office so I feel privileged to be able to observe the mating, nest building, egg laying, and nursery care for several species. Two sets of swallows have fledged from the porch light, and two sets of hummingbirds from the mulberry trees in the yard. It’s a team effort between the mother and father—I like to think I’m in on it but I’m sure they’re helping me more than I’m helping them.
The hummingbirds build their nest on the flimsiest of branches during the height of monsoon storms—it never looks like they’re going to make it. We call the babies “riders on the storm” and they do get tossed around. But the parents choose their site with a purpose, the bigger birds would have a hard time landing in there on a tiny branch. I went out there and threw pebbles at a pair of cactus wrens a couple times. Cactus wrens are common in the desert but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in the yard—I was all excited until I realized they were harassing the hummer nest and the little mother was going at them with all she had. Such is nature. All’s well with the hummer babies, but there were a few fatalities with the second swallow brood. I hate the death part, but only the strong are going to survive and carry on.