Baby bird day
Thursday May 18th 2023, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

The peregrines: the male being a second year still in juvenile plumage, he’s never done this before and there was some question as to whether he was even fertile yet, although the likelihood was yes.

He was certainly new at it: when the first egg was laid, he was so excited that he took prey over to it and tried to feed it. His mate did a falcon eye-rolling equivalent and it didn’t happen again.

Meantime, there was a faded egg left over from last year’s pair that had never hatched. Midway through brooding her own three, the female went over and carefully scooped it with her beak to where it could be properly kept warm along with the rest.

It stayed there about a week before the male was seen exiting the nest box carrying most of an eggshell and getting the darn thing out of there. So they came out even on the eye-rolling.

Their first fluffy eyas hatched last night and there was our happy daddy feeding it this morning, an actual beak offered eagerly up to him this time rather than smooth hard shell. He wasn’t particularly good at getting food to his mate when she wanted while she was (and is still) brooding–he wanted his turns on those eggs–but this part? He’s got it.

Also this morning: I got the sheer delight of watching a newly fledged mockingbird making it up to the fence line outside the window. It did baby bird things: it tried to preen away an itchy bit of hatchling fluff that hadn’t fallen out yet. It tried walking down the fence line and the first time, it was the stagger of a toddler in diapers; after a rest and a try again, it walked more smoothly, more like a mockingbird. I wondered if this was the first time it had been able to take steps for longer than the width of the nest? Did I just get to see a baby learning how to walk?

Seems that way.

It begged for food and almost fell over in the process when a parent flew by to check on it.

Parent on the fence! A second baby flew uncertainly up there, its wobbliness giving its age away.

Look how short their tails still are! Those will finish growing in fast.

They fluttered their wings and nearly knocked themselves over. They picked at bugs on the fence. They tried the mocker gesture of the one-two dance, shoulders up high, and, now out, to try to scare up more and no, not quite like that, guys, you don’t want to fall on your beak. They pancaked down, tired, the second one echoing its sibling on every movement. They jumped up when a parent flew by and they each got fed sometimes, while at other times the parent looked at them as if they would, then turned around and flew away: we won’t let you go hungry but we won’t let you get away with thinking you don’t have to start finding your own now.

Later, I saw one try to make the jump from the neighbor’s tree back to that fence and it misjudged the height or else couldn’t quite maintain its own; I’m not sure what it landed on on the other side. There used to be a beehive about there, if there isn’t still.

More preening that almost made them knock themselves over. Kids are so cute. Lots of observing their world from their wide new perspective.

Just now as I was typing, movement caught my eye and I looked over. It was a Bewick’s wren, a particular favorite of mine, suddenly perched by the window. It preened a bit of baby fluff away and nearly wobbled off its perch. It fluttered its wings hard to keep its balance. It considered trying flying again but for awhile there was going, nahhh. It looked over at me. I looked at it, wishing it could grok a human smile and love directed its way. Well, at least it stayed awhile as I typed.

And then finally, with the sun getting low, it took off around the awning pole and away into something I couldn’t quite see from here.

As they do.

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