Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Western Coachwhip Snake vs. Man & Baby Bird

Well, just another boring day out in the wilderness. . . . . Ha!  The following is an account of our excitement last Friday.  I just started volunteering for an organization named Nature Abounds for their "Watch the Wild" program.  I had only hoped to be able to start off with a bang, but couldn't imagine what my first incident report to them would be.  The following is my observation and photos of an interaction with what I believe was s a young Western Coachwhip snake and baby Cassin's King Bird. We believe the snake was a young snake approximately 3-4 ft long.

Observation: At approx 10:00 am I saw a snake climbing our flowering plum tree heading towards a nest containing a baby Cassin's King Bird. My husband and I ran outside and my husband flung the snake out of the tree with a rake. The snake dropped the baby bird and very quickly slithered away. The snake kept trying to come back and my husband kept flinging it away. When the coast was clear, we used a shovel to gently pick up the baby bird and put him in the nest. Not wanting to put human scent on the bird, but knowing that he still needed help, I put leather gloves on and uprighted him by his legs only.  The adult birds kept flying around but would not go back to the baby bird. The below photos explain why. Apparently, the snake climbed up an adjacent tree and crossed over to the tree containing the baby bird. Once again we ran outside and flung the snake away (this time before he got to the baby bird). My husband then transported the snake to a field across the street from our house.

Time will only tell now whether or not the baby bird survives, however, I am happy to report that about an hour after this incident the bird parents returned to the nest to tend to their baby. 

Do you see it?  Look closely . . . . 

Western Coachwhip snake going from right tree to left tree.

He wasn't too happy with us for taking him away from his meal.

However he did allow me to take a good shot of him.

Scott taking him to find a new home in a neighboring field.

It's hard to see, but the traumatized baby Cassin's King bird is back in his nest.

P.S.  Unfortunately this weekend we noticed that the nest was barren.  We can only assume one of two things happened, either a snake came back or the bird died.  Trust me, I was hugely upset at the snake because I so wanted that little bird to live.  However, after simmering down, I do realize this is nature running it's course.  I like to think that my husband and I have been very lucky to have observed some of the many wildlife incidents that we have.  One day when it's time to leave this earth, we will be able to say, "Wow, how fortunate we have been to have experienced life so fully."

For more information on Nature Abounds' Watch the Wild program, IceWatch USA, and their other initiatives, visit:  www.natureabounds.org.  

Have a great week everyone!

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