Today had been rather peaceful so far. A rocky night of no sleep followed by a noisy morning, that is the norm around here. Then several hours of weeding the garden, it somehow got out of hand, and then a rest indoors from the midday heat.
All the sudden a HUGE ruckus outside the door. Birds a chirping something fierce and fluttering about like mad! It was the two little Chipping Sparrows that made a nest in one of our mini ornamental spruce trees right off our front stoop. They were all a fluster about something. I looked out and around to see them frantically trying to herd their babies, only about half feathered and all out of the nest! Eeep! The little ones were also flapping frantically, AWAY from their nest. I counted, 1, 2, 3... wheres 4, there should be 4. The adults and 3 babies scattered as far from their nest as their little non-flying wings could carry them. In all directions, I fear something awful must have happened to number 4, and something had.
Upon even a glancing look at the nest I see the cause, our 2 foot garter snake "friend" peeking out of the wee tree with his body coiled up in the nest. See his little head on the lower right. Alas number 4, so sorry about your demise. A happily full snake but a sad day for sparrows. I fear the three survivors of the attack wont survive for long, we did herd them back together but on the ground I am afraid they are sitting ducks.
Speaking of sitting ducks! As we finished steering the little flightless birds back to the same area I heard a terrible sound from the duck yard, only about 20 yards aways from the house. I turned to see and a Red Tailed Hawk was diving into the duck enclosure! Run babies! Ack! RUUUUUN! I ran over as the big hawk flew off, frantically counting the little ones to make sure none had been lost. All was well, however, we have decided not to let the little ones in the yard without supervision, for at least the next 4 weeks. They are happier in their pen anyway, they feel more secure, with good reason.
So it has been a stressful hour around here. Sadly lives have been lost and more will probably follow, but that is nature and the nature of life.