Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Veery— Late in Season

I thought it was too late in the season. Thought the veery family had abandoned the house we provided it. After all, last week we only heard a bit of scolding from the veery, not the charming song he had kept up for hours several weeks ago.
But I was wrong.
We returned to another scolding, from a branch above the deck where I stood.
“What’s your problem?” I asked. “I would never harm you or your family. You can use the house any time you want – rent free.” I sat down. I wasn’t going away.
After a few minutes of che, che, che, che the veery gave up.
Then I learned what all the noise was about. There are multiple chirping sounds from within the birdhouse. And momma and poppa veery are making repeated visits in and out of the house. Their brood must have hatched while we were gone—within the last five days.

It’s late in season to bring up a brood, considering they’ll all have to depart to a tropical clime in the fall. But who am I to criticize? We started late too.
The Audubon site www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/veery says that sometimes veeries raise two broods per year. Perhaps this is the second?
Or – maybe they did just start late. All that serenading in early July wasn’t for our benefit. Mr. Veery was obviously singing for his lady love. Given that the eggs take 10 to 14 days to hatch, this family was begun a short time ago.
The blackberries that grew under the deck are all gone. But the ripe berries last month may have been one more enticement to convince Mrs. Veery that this birdhouse was in an ideal spot. We are lucky they chose our birdhouse. The habit of the veery is to nest close to the ground in dense forest or in a shrub or sapling.

 The adults continually fly off to the trees and return. I suppose they are bringing insects for food. The kids need protein. They make a lot of noise when momma or poppa returns. All of them saying, “Me first!”
Standing on the deck, looking down at the house, I see it rock slightly, and the insistent chirps are replaced by a rhythmic cooing. Suddenly momma flies out and off.

I hope we are here when the little ones learn to fly—10 to 12 days after hatching, according to Audubon.