Sofia and the little birds

Janet wants the wild roses (even though they are native plants) out of the garden. They take over, crowding out many other plants, and make moving through the trees difficult, and they grow tall where we want prairie. Without grazers and fire (we cannot have fire, but surely we could have grazers), the roses get out of control
Sofia uses clippers to cut back the stems and then digs out the roots. Wild roses spread mostly by sending out roots under the ground, and popping up, sometimes far away.
But, while cutting into one immense bush, she noticed she had cut a stem/trunk with a bird’s nest on it. A tiny nest with four little eggs. Very traumatic! A female yellow warbler was hanging around, looking very upset. So, Sofia dug a hole and planted the stem/trunk of the wild rose in the hole.
The warbler parents were content with this arrangement, and continued to sit on their eggs, and the eggs hatched into four charming little birds – naked and mostly mouth, but still …
See the picture.
Over the week, Sofia noticed that when she was near the bush, and might have caused a bit of a rustle in the leaves, the wee birds would throw back their heads and open their mouths.
Spending time daily in one nature location offers so many opportunities to come to know the ecosystem and the different relationships there.
We both worried about the babies over last weekend, when there were several hard rains, one associated with wind gusts. But Sofia checked first thing Monday morning and there they were.
But after lunch, they were gone. Sofia noticed that the stem/trunk had been bent over a bit, something the parents did not have the weight to do. We suspect a larger animal had found the wee birds, and turned them into a food source.
We are now thinking of what kind of bird house, what height and what kind of location to put it in for the survival of yellow warbler chicks. Not that they can all survive – ultimately, I suppose that two chicks should survive to replace their parents …
Still, one gets attached.

About Janet McVittie

Faculty, Department of Educational Foundations College of Education, University of Saskatchewan Research interests: social and ecological justice, experiential and inquiry learning, assessment for learning.
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