snake versus phoebe
Saturday, June 8 2013
I was coming back from checking the mailbox today when I saw the Phoebes acting disturbed. For the first time this year they'd built a nest in a new location, atop the center of the front (northmost) girder supporting the rafters of the woodshed. The nest was beautiful, though when I'd last looked in it, it seemed to contain a single fat Brown-headed Cowbird chick. But that wasn't what was freaking the phoebes out. Whatever they were raising, they loved it in the way that parent birds do, and now something was troubling them. They were making unusual calls and repeatedly going to and then leaving the nest. So I went to see what was the matter. It seems a two-foot-long Corn Snake (?) had somehow found its way up the side of the woodshed and then out across the girder past each rafter and then into the nest. It didn't have a bulge indicating that it had actually eaten anything, but the baby bird had vanished. I used a stick to push the snake away, and for a long moment it hung in the shape of an upsilon upon that stick, but then it fell to the ground, lay still for a stunned moment, and then vanished like a ghost into the wood pile.
With the snake out of the way, the Phoebes checked their nest one last time and then pretty much disappeared. I don't know how Phoebes mourn, but evidently it doesn't involve hanging around the site of their tragedy.
There was one sunflower volunteer in the garden this spring, but that was never going to be enough, so the other day I planted a line of sunflowers along the north edge of the main garden patch. Sunflowers grow tall, so I don't want them blocking the sunlight coming in from the south. As the sunflower seedlings have appeared (and, with all the nourishment of their big seeds, they do so with gusto), I've transplanted to form the basis of what will be a wall of sunflowers. I've also planted beans and peas near the sunflowers, and ideally they'd be the kind that would want to climb up on them, but in past years none of the beans or peas shown much interest in climbing.
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