Monday, June 9, 2008

(egg) Breaking News!!!

I just took down the petunia baskets to water them, as they're quite droopy between the sun and the brisk, hot breeze, and look who decided to pop out:

This is the baby out of the presumptive sparrow egg, (as you can see) the five matching, smaller eggs are still intact. Mama Finch was super ticked at my disruption of her motherly duties - I watered as fast (yet carefully) as I could and rehung the basket while she cheeped and cheeped at me. She went back to the nest as soon as I'd closed the front door behind me. I'm guessing we'll have more babies in the next couple of days, as the egg that hatched today wasn't the first one laid. Woo-hoo! (Also, I haven't seen the sparrow hanging around in the past couple of days, either in the front near the nest or in the back yard, where this year's birdfeeder frequenters are eating us out of house and home, or at least out of gigantic bags of seed.)

In other nature and wildlife-related news, yesterday after church I was mowing the lawn when, in the back yard along the back of the kiddo's sandbox, I came across this:

It's about two feet long, and isn't a complete specimen. I skeeved Hubby out by picking it up with my bare hands and bringing it inside to show him and the kiddo. (The kiddo who promptly requested to bring it in to school today to show to her class, which she did with great excitement this morning.) Once it was safely contained in a gallon-sized baggie and my hands had been thoroughly washed, Hubby was more inclined to inspect the snake skin. Now, we've only ever seen garter snakes around our little piece o' property, and the largest of those that we've ever spotted was maybe a foot long. Neither of us believe this came from a garter snake, and I have no idea what kind of snake it belonged to before it was shed. Here's a close-up of the skin in case there are any herpetology enthusiasts out there who might be able to identify it.

I was thinking of taking it (with the kiddo) to the zoo and seeing if anyone there might know, but with the AC issue (as described in painful detail in my previous post) I didn't want to do any extra driving today. Let's hope that whatever type of snake it is, its diet consists primarily of many, many voles and that if so, s/he sticks around for the rest of the summer. It'd be awfully nice to be vole-free, especially without having to resort to placing boxes of rodent poison way under the deck (well out of any human or feline's reach) as we've had to do a few times in previous years when the vole infestation has been particularly prolific.

We're positively brimming with wildlife 'round here! Between the birdies, the snake, the toad I almost ran over with the mower, Bunny Foo-Foo (who has munched a good portion of this year's food garden, now replanted and surrounded by organic Keep-Bunny-Away granules), the vole community under the deck and the geese, ducks, herons, deer, muskrats and what appears to be a beaver family in the pond out behind our back yard, well, call up the ghost of Marlin Perkins and have him bring a camera crew on over!


My name is Andy. said...

Great shot of the baby bird, and remind me NOT to visit your back yard during criter season!!


Anonymous said...

So cute! (The bird, not the snakeskin) We have a baby hummingbird ensconced in a nest on one of our patio fans. It's pretty cool.

As for the snake, host it happily. I don't recall any poisonous specimens up in your neck of the woods, and garters adore eating rodents and other beasties that eat veggie gardens.

Reptiles have long been a fave of mine; I recall coming home from a family picnic with a baby garter tucked carefully into my hoodie pocket. My dad gave me an aquarium with rocks and driftwood, and we fed himt goldfish for a few months, then let him go. Good times. Now we have 2 tortoises (pets) and a host of small brown lizrds (who just moved in) in the yard, all of whom are welcomed.

Really, reptiles are cleaner than most mammals.