BLOG 006 Getting Busy : Natural Selections--Observations on Art and Nature
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BLOG 006 Getting Busy

by Jim Rataczak on 06/01/12

Well, all that courtin’ and chasin’ and general wooing that provided last month’s excitement and mayhem in the marshes, woods, and fields has evidently paid off.  As I write this, we have Wood Duck eggs days away from hatching in our nest boxes, Cardinals, Robins and other songbirds foraging constantly in our yard for their demanding nestlings, goslings holding up traffic out on the highway, and Monarchs in various stages of metamorphosis in jars in our kitchen.

Loons were at it, too, and I recently had the neat experience of almost witnessing the hatching out of a Loon chick.  We were visiting my parents on Lake Sylvia over the weekend, and a pair of Loons was nesting in the large bay behind their house.  I put my scope on the nest, and had just started sketching the bird, when my 11 year-old son came by and needed my help cleaning fish for lunch.  I left my post, cleaned the fish (I’ve got that whole “Y”-bones thing down pat I have to say), and was back at the scope about 30 minutes later. 

When I resumed my watch, the bird and its mate were both in the water near the nest, and I noticed that one of the birds now floated in the water in a peculiar way.  Its wings were drooped, and one side of its back was noticeably bulging up.  So, I started drawing this bird, and as I was making color notes on the eyes and iridescence of the head, a very young loon chick unsteadily poked its head up from beneath the adult’s wing!  Could the chick have hatched out and climbed onto the parent’s back in the relatively short time I had been gone?  I don’t know, but there had been no sign of the baby before I left, and the adult in the water had been floating normally.  Whatever the timing was, it was quite exciting to know that I had possibly come ever so close to witnessing the chick’s entrance to the world!

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