Nature At It’s Best, In Our Own Backyard.

My husband discovered an extravagant nest immediately outside our back door, about 3 foot off the ground, 5 days ago (Friday). It was built in an old Mountain Dew box that was sitting on top of our grill table awaiting dryer days for the fire pit. Dryer days was that day and it almost went in. He quickly put it back and left it where it was. The box and some of the nesting materials were still wet from the days of rain.

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Saturday, she had an egg in the nest. We hadn’t used our grill all winter but we had just got a new gas tank that day and we were clearing the patio and pulling out the grill to prepare to cook dinner on it. I walked outside and he had moved the nest. I said no! it has to be back where it was, so I needed to find something else to set it on at the same height and in the same spot, so that we wouldn’t be disturbing it. I quickly thought and I found a solution and the nest went unmoved.

We left it alone and the next morning (Sunday), there was another egg in the nest. Oh how excited I was that we didn’t make her abandon the nest. I forgot to take a picture of the lone egg in the nest however I did get a picture of the 2 eggs. We don’t have to go look in the nest, it’s literally right as soon as we open the door to let the dog out. [ I worried that she put her nest in a terrible place with how highly trafficked the door is.] My husband said when he was letting the dog out one morning before work, she was in there sitting on her eggs and didn’t seem bothered by him at all. “She’s a little wren,” he said.

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Yesterday morning (Monday) I went to let our dog out to use the bathroom and there were three eggs in the nest.

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That’s when I decided to look up how many she’ll lay, I saw her today and I was wrong before, so I’m editing it now, she’s a Carolina Wren not a House Wren. They nest anywhere from 3 feet to 6 feet off the ground and they will lay an egg a day until they reach 3-7 eggs. Then they incubate from 12-16 days. I was intrigued to read that her mate may sometimes bring her food while she’s on the eggs. Once they hatch it will be another 10-16 days before they leave the nest.

You can read more here https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Wren/lifehistory

I think being able to watch her clutch grow and possibly be able to see them hatch and become actual birds is a very neat experience. My biggest fear is that she’ll abandon the nest and I’m really hoping she won’t. I would love to be able to document their development, since I know the time frame of their whole cycle personally.

This morning when I let the dog out to use the bathroom, there were four eggs in the nest. Only one or two more days and she’ll be done laying. I still haven’t seen the mama with my own eyes yet. This is an exceptional learning experience for the children because I can educate them about a bird’s life cycle. How important it is to leave nature untouched and to just observe. After seeing a cat give birth to kittens a few months ago and to watch me carry their sister in my belly for 9 months, they are intrigued at the fact that birds lay eggs and have to sit on them until they are born.

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I will continue to observe and update on the nest in future posts. So if you’d like to see more about these babies, follow me.

 

**EDIT**
I finally was able to catch a photo of her since she isn’t in the nest much during the day, I snapped a quick shot tonight. (I didn’t have to get close, I just used my zoom)

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Nature At It’s Best, In Our Own Backyard.

10 Reasons we chose a Nature Retreat

My husband and I have decided after careful deliberation that the property we’d be purchasing for our Family vacation spot would be a Nature Retreat instead of a place near the Beach. The property we’re looking to buy MUST have a few things on our wishlist. Including:

  • Mountain or Country/County property
  • Acreage for privacy and more room for adventures.
  • A source of water such as a stream, creek, pond or river front.
  • Level and rolling parts. Both clear and wooded to accommodate campsites and possible structures, hiking and walking, wildlife and scenery.
  • It doesn’t need to have a structure on it, but that could be a plus depending on it’s condition.

We already go out for hikes and nature walks very frequently, sometimes I don’t always remember to bring my camera. I’ve added photos from some of our adventures in our cities public parks and trails.

Here’s our 10 reasons for wanting our own nature retreat.

  1. A place that is our own, where the kids would love to visit time and time again.
  2. We love being outdoors and in nature so it’d be a great getaway.
  3. Seclusion and serenity. We like our privacy and being able to connect better as a family without a load of distractions.
  4. Better fit for technology free trips.
  5. Playing in a creek, fishing or just sitting by the water.
  6. Observing wildlife.
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  7. Encouraging fantastic developmental and learning skills within our adventures.
  8. A place we can set up a campsite and perhaps in the future build a cabin or tiny house, whatever suits our future needs and wants.
  9. A place that can accommodate us throughout the year and always be “in-season”.
  10. A place close enough to home and work for us to explore and enjoy not only on weekends but during the week as well.

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My Pros and Cons of a Beach Property:

Pros-
Obviously, close vicinity to the beach/ocean.Variety of different shops and food choices.
Play time at the beach and in the water.
Could rent out the property during most the year for residual income.

Cons-
It would have to be a closer beach (VA, NC, SC – Not FL like I’d want)
Still further distance to travel from home. (making it a well planned out trip just to go)
More expensive to upkeep.
Seasonal property. (won’t do us much good majority of the year)Less time to enjoy the property. (could only go there a few times a summer, if that)
Weather permitting.
Possibly crowded or “busy” in the area/city or on the beach.
Less privacy than in the wilderness.
Not as much wildlife (seagulls, birds and some crustaceans, maybe)
Sometimes being on the beach is actually not as grand as it sounds.

As fun as a beach trip sounds, having lived at Cocoa Beach in Florida, but with as many children as we have (6) it sounds like chaos to me. We’re actually taking our first family camping trip Father’s Day weekend to Williamsburg, VA so we can visit Jamestown and Yorktown. That same weekend we’ll also be traveling to the coast to have an afternoon at the beach, taking all the kids for the first time. They are still young and we’ll find out quickly if we can even handle it again or if we have to wait until they are even older. I have faith that together we can overcome my fears of taking all of them to the ocean, but they are excited and I just hope it goes well.

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So because we want something close to home and something we can utilize almost daily. We chose a Nature Retreat instead. We haven’t found the right property for us just yet, but we’re still looking for that right one. We want to make sure it not only fits us for now, but fits us for many years to come as our children grow up. I’m anxious, though I know I need to have the most patience so that we don’t go into anything too hasty.

10 Reasons we chose a Nature Retreat

Kids & Bird Watching

I’ve always been intrigued by birds since I was a child. They are such an incredible species and quite beautiful to watch. My grandparents used to have a hummingbird feeder and other bird feeders outside where they could view it from their dining room window. I enjoyed eating breakfast with them as we watched birds come and go. I remember they had bird books to help identify some they may not have known. Still to this day I love viewing birds in the wild and identifying the ones I’m familiar with.

We have chickens and 2 parakeets, among our family pets, but we love to watch the wildlife around our home. From the deer, squirrels, chipmunks and of course birds.

We already have a lot of beautiful birds in the neighborhood that we see come and go from our fountain, but I wanted to attract them even more to our own yard so I added a bird feeder. Ever since the first morning with the feeder it’s been a busy busy feeding frenzy. The kids and I have had a blast peeking out the window and seeing all our visitors. The kids and I are even going to build our own bird feeders to add.

So far we’ve seen Cardinals (both male and female), Bluejays, Crows (which hasn’t been common before), Chickadees, Mockingbird, and some that I’m not 100% sure I’ve identified correctly. [the bird on the pole I can’t seem to pinpoint, I thought it looked like a female bluejay, but I would need to get a better look next time]

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We always try to capture any wild life photos we can in our yard and when we go on nature hikes and spend time in the woods. But I really wish I had a better camera to capture their image. Probably doesn’t help I’m snapping pictures through our blinds in the dining room so they don’t scare away.

5 Benefits I found for Bird Watching with my Kids

  1. Respect for nature and wildlife
  2. Teaching them what types of feed/seed attracts certain birds
  3. Helping them identify birds
  4. Involving them in a hobby together (quality time)
  5. Watching all the different birds come and go, adding beautiful wildlife to our yard.

 

Kids & Bird Watching