Just wanted to show you one of our babies. It does seem likely that one chick didn’t make it – we’ve only been able to account for two in the bush and they stay close together. No sign of the cat this weekend, thank goodness.
If you click on the picture and look carefully you can see part of the other chick, head and beak, just below.
It all began a couple of weeks ago when I was trimming hedges in the front yard. One of our pittosporums was encroaching on both the driveway and walkway. As I was chopping away, I saw a bird’s nest inside. I stopped and looked carefully and saw no eggs or chicks and thought it had been abandoned…I was wrong…
Fast forward a week or so and I hear baby chicks crying and observe parent Mockingbirds feeding and protecting this hedge – with their chicks inside. All is well, you think. Nope, not by a long shot. There’s a neighborhood cat that decided it was going to wreak havoc and try to kill our babies! One evening we battled and thought he (the cat) had won. As I’m chasing him away yet again, Mir noticed that the nest had come down and the chicks had fallen out. Damn cat! But wait…the chicks were all alive…now what do we do?
We discussed options – finally decided to place the nest in a shoebox – affix shoebox to bush and place chicks back inside. So, off I ran to find a shoebox, gloves, wire, wire cutters, etc. With tools in hand, Mir placed the nest in the box, picked up the chicks and gently laid them inside on the nest and affixed the “new” nest to the bush. One of the chicks looked poorly but we hoped for the best. I was a little afraid that they would get too cold as I’m not sure how long they had been out of the nest. Sleep was difficult that night.
The next day I checked in on them during my lunch break and to my delight I saw three chicks raise their heads and beg for food. Glory be! For the next week or so we continued to do battle with the cat. Persistent little bugger. We researched and found that placing moth balls at the base of the bush (Note: place moth balls in bags as this can be very toxic if ingested) and laying chicken wire on the ground around the base of the hedge might just keep this cat away (Note: cats do not like the feel of chicken wire on their paws). As an added precaution, I also had the hose at the ready set on “jet stream”, to give this cat a good soaking whenever I had the opportunity. This feline was relentless, forcing me to recall primal instincts I did not know I possessed…”YOU WILL NOT GET MY BIRDS!”, I yelled.
Today when I again checked on the nest during lunch the nest was empty. The fledglings had moved on…to the ligustrums on the east side of the yard! So, I’ve been keeping an eye there. The parent birds are still feeding and protecting the younguns…and the cat has been absent today….we’ll be sentries again tomorrow and each day, thereafter, until our young charges are grown and singing their songs.
Addendum: That damn cat is back… stalking these fledglings as they try to master the art of flight…so the battle continues…