a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Every year in one of our lilac bushes by our front gate, the long-tailed blackbirds that frequent our yard, along with orioles, hummingbirds, purple and yellow finches, sparrows, phoebes, western and mountain bluebirds, robins, ring necked and white winged doves, pinyon jays, and a bunch of others, build a nest at about eye level. Earlier I posted a photo of their eggs. This is a photo of the hatchlings that came from those eggs. We are always excited to see the new hatchlings with their beaks open, waiting for their parents to feed them. The day I took this photo, however, after the dogs and I came back from our daily walk into the Zuni Mountains, these hatchlings were gone. I came into the yard and the two parents dive bombed me and made a distressed fuss as if I was the reason their hatchlings were now missing. Every year the story seems to be the same. The ravens are hanging around the field on the Zuni side of our house, normally trying to get away from long-tailed blackbirds harassing them. Hawks circle in the sky. Snakes are not uncommon in New Mexico, and every year the hatchlings hatch, then, after awhile, disappear. This photo is the only evidence that they ever lived.