Thursday, May 16, 2013

Catching Up in the Courtyard

Not quite the Garden of Earthly Delights, but a worthy natural distraction during a busy school day. (5/9/13)
Any number of times during the course of the school day I'll peek out the classroom window to see what aviary activity may be taking place. Any number of slight environmental factors (whether the lawn is cut, the state of the small artificial pond, if students are out there taking the course I affectionately call "Raking Class") can impact what may be gliding in for a rest. As the name would suggest, our school courtyard is an enclosed area that is somehow populated with any number of types of birds who find their way over the three story square building and onto this small patch of green.

Given the greenery of the courtyard, even the muted red of the Northern Cardinal stands out. (5/9/13)
Last week while teaching class I couldn't help but notice a small, brightly colored male Northern Cardinal briefly flitting around the courtyard at school. The bird captured in both images is the same one, though it's sharp color was much clearly captured in the one above. I am quick to notice colorful birds such as this one as they are not as common here as the more ubiquitous American Robin or the occasional .

Slightly different angle and lens results in more brightly captured red coat. (5/9/13)
In these pictures, the lawn is rather long (it was freshly cut a few days later) and and industrious American Robin can be seen in the images below collecting grass for nest building. I haven't had the opportunity to get down to ground zero to search for its location, but I suspect he is building for the summer. Robins are extremely common regionally, and this type of behavior in my backyard usually means a nest is going up in a nearby bush or soffet.

Just left of center, Robin looks for suitable building material (5/9/13)
The following day, (presumably) the same bird could be seen in roughly the same location scratching and pulling at dead grass and leaves. It occurs to me that any nest that is under construction may be taken down by school maintenance staff, or Raking Class, especially if any nest location is exposed. Reckon it's time to escape the "ivory tower" environs of my second story classroom and look around the courtyard for myself.

Robin certainly is enamored of that shadowy area just beneath the shrub's branches. (5/9/13)

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