Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bye Bye Birdie(s)

I confess...I really do want to blog more.  And I really do want to write about more than pain and books.  But I am just feeling drained of energy of late.  The latest attempt at remedying the pain doesn't seem to be the magic bullet.  Back to GP next week and Lady Pain Doc on 8/8.

Anyway...something different...perhaps only of interest to me and definitely a bit rambly, but a bright spot in our house...

Last year, a robin repeatedly tried to build a nest on the front porch light.  We pulled it down several times, always in the early-going, because it simply wasn't a workable nesting place.  She was pretty determined but eventually did fly off. 

I'd tried to tell Momma Robin that the back light might be a better choice and she listened this year.  She also had good timing.  We do use the back door to get to the grill a lot in the summer, but we've been away a lot so she got the jump on us.  Plus, we are both softies and couldn't take it down once it was fully built.  It was a bit of an odd nest...it looked like it was two-stories or like she'd built a second nest on top of the first.  Apparently they do sometimes do that, but not usually before they've raised a "clutch" (I've learned some Birdie Vocab...they have a couple "clutches" a year between May and July).

We returned from our last ten day trip, a trying and stressful trip when MM's father passed, to find one robin on alert.  She was watching us through the window, perched on a railing just outside the kitchen.  We opened the back door and were greeted with quite the squawking.  The Baby Birdies had hatched very recently..MM says there were four but I only ever spotted three.  They aren't the prettiest of things, half beak and half shrively body.  They still made us smile.  They were constantly chirping and looking for a visit from Momma or Poppa (apparently both parents feed nestlings...more Birdie Vocab).  I read that they were supposed to be wired to stay still unless they were about to be fed.  They didn't get that memo.

It was pretty cool to watch them evolve. The nest was a bit high, I could see them when they passed the rim but couldn't see inside.  MM often held up his phone above his head so we coud better peek into the nest.  They gradually grew wings and they did quiet down a bit in time. We checked on them a few times a day,   Momma Bird and Poppa Bird were vigilant protectors.  We were dive-bombed when we dared venture out the door and eyed when we stood near it.  One was always perched nearby and the youngins' were fed often.

I knew they only spent about two weeks in the nest and we could tell it was getting tight.  Momma seemed to ease up on the vigilance, perhaps an effort to get them to try their wings.  We worried they'd fall too far, the wrong direction was a big plummet down concrete basement stairs.  Everything said they could glide safely down, but we were still fretful watchers.  MM hooked up a plastic sheet to cover the stairway and stop a fall.  He called it the BRD ("Birdie Rescue Device")...I called it the trampoline. 

One got brave and hopped out yesterday afternoon, a bit before the others.  Birdie Research said this was the most dangerous period for them since they could really only hop and just flutter a small distance,  Birdie 1 was venturing a bit far, in the direction of an outdoor cat.  We'd read that it was a myth that Momma and Poppa would abandon a baby that had been touched so MM decided Birdie 1 needed a rescue.  I wasn't such a fan of the idea, but MM scooped Birdie 1 up to bring him closer to home.  He screeched and suddenly every adult robin within a few bocks radius arrived, screeching and flying in protective circles.  Birdie Research said each pair of parents was given it's own space and we really hadn't seen other robins nearby since the little ones arrived, but quite the flock arrived.  It definitely left me pondering about animal communication.  Is there a Birdie S.O.S.?

Birdie 2 fledged (Birdie Vocab!) last night and Birdie 3 left this morning.  MM asked to keep one but I told him that it was time for them to go.  I know they are nearby as they learn the ropes, but we haven't spotted them today.  I did see Poppa scanning for one mid-morning, a bit of food in his beak...apparently helping feed the fledglings for a little while longer is Poppa Robin's job.  

As evening rolled in today, MM took down the vacant nest.  Birdie Research suggested doing so.  It was already ridden with mites so clearly the necessary call. 

We'll push on through our Empty Nest syndrome   Bye Bye Birdies.  Come back and see us next year!

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

Aw. I remember peering into a robin's nest as one of the best spring memories of my childhood. Baby birds are really comically awful looking for something so sweet, though.

BRD cracked me up. Is it just me, or does EVERYTHING in the military get an acronym or abbreviation? My sister mentioned in an e-mail that a thank you for her wedding present would be coming by SEPCOR (separate correspondence).