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      Nature Report: Nifty Nesters

      An old mesquite hollow in the ranch country west of Rio Grande City provides a perfect nest site for the ash-throated flycatcher.

      Throughout the morning both parents come and go with a variety of bugs for their young tucked down in the cavity.

      And they don't tarry long in the hollow as there are four or five little ones hungrily awaiting their next meal.

      The adults are almost identical and rather small at only about eight inches in length, but they don't have any trouble rounding up plenty of insects for their brood.

      The sooner the youngsters fledge the less likely a predator will detect their nest, and so they will be ready to fly in approximately two weeks from hatching.

      While the flycatchers seem pretty well concealed in their hollow, a lesser nighthawk has simply laid her two buffy eggs on the ground right out in the open in the arid ranch land.

      She swoops in and lands near the eggs, but patiently waits for several minutes before approaching them, not wanting to call attention to their location just in case a predator is watching.

      Finally, she walks over on short stubby legs and carefully tucks the eggs beneath her for incubation.

      With absolutely no protective nest whatsoever, it might seem unlikely the eggs will survive, but both mother and eggs are very well camouflaged in the rocky soil.

      The young will hatch in about 20 days and will be tended by both parents until ready to fly in some two weeks.

      Whether it's a weathered hollow or well-camouflaged ground dwelling, South Texas birds are perfectly adapted to their habitat.