This is the season for baby things. Yesterday on my Black Oystercatcher surveys, I discovered that all three pairs I monitor at one site are nesting. I hope they manage to raise baby things this year. Last year was not so successful. Exciting for me was discovering two baby Peregrine Falcons at another site. I took a video but it's not for public viewing for several reasons: 1) it's lousy and 2) the site monitors would rather not have the location public. Some falconers take chicks out of the nest and raise them. A few permits are available for that purpose each year but the restrictions and requirements are rather tight so few take out permits. Alas, there have been cases of captures made without permits in Oregon. I think there must be a good market for Peregrines on the black market.
Today the excitement was on our own farm with baby Wood Ducks making their first appearance on our pond with their mom. She let them stay out in the pond weeds for only a short time, while I hid in the new barn's milk room and took photos out the window. Thus... not good photos. Okay, lousy photos. Maybe she'll get less protective in a few days. More likely, though, is that she will take them downstream to Agency Creek, which is what she usually does. They hatched from the Wood Duck nest box upstream from the pond, the one that has been used by both Woodies and Hoodies (Hooded Mergansers) in the past... plus a Saw-whet Owl one winter. When I first saw the ducklings this morning, they were in open water for a quarter of a fraction of a second before their mom called them out of sight... but it seemed like there were a dozen of them. Maybe I'll get a chance to count them another day.
The cutest baby thing is the one I didn't get a photo of at all. While mowing our woodland paths this morning, I scared out a brand new fawn. So I stopped and let it tiptoe back to its hiding place. Then I turned around and went the other way. The paths I intended to mow through the horse fields for riding trails will have to wait. I've never seen a fawn that young. Its ears were still folded and it was tiny. Maybe our trail cameras will pick it up traveling with Mama Deer.
We also have baby Barn Owls in the loft but I can't get a photo of them in their dark nest box and I don't want to use a flash on their young eyes. They are almost cute now and we do allow visitors, with appointments, to climb the ladder and have a peek at the four swaying, hissing baby dragons, since Mama Owl does not stay with the babies anymore in the daytime. She spends all night hauling them mice and voles and gophers and deserves to rest up during the day away from the children.
As consolation photos, here are two birds I found a bit easier to photograph today, a Song Sparrow chowing down on the seeds I throw in front of the barn. And a female Mallard in those same pond weeds that hid the baby ducks... in a little better focus because she's not behind the glass of a dirty window. Mama Mallard doesn't seem to have baby things this year. Perhaps her nest failed. I hope she nests again. I suspect her ducklings would be easier to photograph than those Wood Duck babies with the super protective mother.