Baby Birds Learning To Fly

Ahhh, early summer. At our house that means birds singing out for a mate, finding said mate, nesting in odd-ball places (tool boxes, shelving, old hats), sitting for ages on wee eggs, defending their nest against (thankfully fat and lazy) cats, scouring the countryside for bugs to feed hungry baby birds, and eventually teaching them to go out on their own and find their own doggone food!

Wrens are the funniest. I got out of the car the other day (after pulling it into the man cave) to find a bird in my face. She was fussing at me in true wren fashion. She flew all around me as I was walking through the garage, swooping and chattering and trying to kill me in general. I gathered from her behavior she had a nest somewhere handy and wanted me AWAY. Of course I had to find it!

After a few minutes of snooping around in the man cave I discovered it on a shelf, right beside where I park my car. It was full of wee babies, all wide-open mouth and clamoring for food food food. When did she do this? I don’t drive that particular car every day, but hey, I don’t remember a nest being here in the last few days. They work fast!

I left the new family alone to do the wren thing. I think mommy was glad the monster left, but in a way she was kinda dumb to make a nest right in the middle of the human action (manly man cave action, that is) of screeching table saws, drills, planers, a big Harley Davidson driven in and out daily (with the obligatory loud pipes that save lives), a TV on until dark, snoopy cats, nosey chickens, goofy people. Why she chose that spot to raise a family is still a mystery. And to have the nerve to fuss at me for being in there! What bravery! Or stupidity?

All went well with the babies for a few days. I didn’t bother them (except to lightly blow on them to wake them up and set the begging in motion) and mommy seemed to relax.

Until yesterday.

Before starting the car and pulling out of the garage to go to work, I checked on the nest. Empty! They had jumped out that morning at some point and were still in the garage. But where? Under my car’s wheels? Under the garage door that will soon come slamming down? Or the worst… in that old five gallon bucket half full of used motor oil (we plan to recycle as soon as it’s full)? I didn’t have time for a search and rescue mission at the moment, but vowed to check it out at my lunch hour when I returned home.

Noon. I checked the entire man cave for baby birds, especially the bucket death-traps and scary cobweb infested (I would hate for the little things to be eaten alive by cobs!) corners. I found one wee cheeper cheeping for mom. It was so little and helpless looking, I had to try to help. As soon as I reached down to snag it (an improve its’ life for the better), its’ mommy & daddy got involved. The parents went nuts with flying around and squawking at me. I was so intimidated by the fierceness of their actions that I jumped back and ran screaming for the house. I felt like I was in the movie “The Birds”! Well … maybe not that bad. The more I think about it, it wasn’t anything like that…. It was just me saying, “I’m sorry!” and ducking out to go to the house and eat my sammich.

I don’t know where the other three were hiding, but when my husband got home they came out to investigate his motorcycle. They hopped up onto the tires, the kick stand, and tried for the handlebars. The parents were trying to coax them outdoors to get with the program of being wild birds, but they seemed timid to leave the garage at first. We had such fun watching them hop around the man cave exploring and practicing being a bird. They were everywhere! All the while mom and dad were flying in and out calling them. No one got fed, but it wasn’t for lack of begging. I guess it was time to go outside and find food on their own, and there isn’t a better motivator than hunger.

hanging out in the man cave

Eventually one flew outside and landed by my lawn chair. It was so cute and tiny out in that big bad world. The momma bird instantly flew by and landed in a nearby tree, calling to it the whole time. It responded by hopping and quasi-flying in the general direction of the tree, fumbling and chirping in a pitiful manner. In the meantime our chickens wandered up (looking for their usual evening handout of tortillas or bread or pie dough) and spotted the wee baby. One of them, Inga, walked over to it and pecked it! I was furious! I don’t think it was hurt but both my husband and I were royally pissed at that chicken. I chased her off but she came back. I threw rocks at her but the odd thing about throwing things at pet chickens is they think it’s food and come to you instead of scurrying away in fear. Rats! Something had to be done. But what?

I ain't skeerd!! Well maybe a little.

Hubby caught the little birdie and put it in the tree. It held on for dear life and seemed to say thank you with its eyes. Whew, one safe. Now where are the other three?

They were all still hopping around in the man cave. Chickens don’t go in there much (without punishment). That’s a good thing.

I'll pose on this jig saw cord while brother reads the talk on a bucket.

The sun was going down and the babies were getting closer to the outside door. We felt it was too late in the evening (almost dark) to be a tiny bird learning to fly outdoors what with the large population of varmints that roam the area at night looking for hapless victims. It was very stressful to watch the mom and dad call them to go outside, while all the while the sun was sinking lower and darkness was falling. We caught them and put them back in the man cave more than once (much to the parents’ dismay). I couldn’t stand the stress of imminent death to baby birds any longer and went to the house (to trick the cats into staying indoors for the nonce). My husband shooed them inside and closed the big door. He stayed in the garage a few more minutes with most of the lights off, and made sure they were okay before coming into the house as well.

He was happy to report to me this morning that all three were still in the man cave, the one outside was still in the tree, and the parents were busy coaxing them out.

Maybe they will go outside early and figure out the flying thing before dark. I don’t know how the parent birds keep up!

I’m home and the babies are gone to the trees. I saw mom and dad feeding two of them this afternoon. I hope they are all safe and sound!

 

© Copyright 2012 Leegay, All rights Reserved. Written For: Truth In Decorating

About Leegay

My husband and I live in the Texas Hill Country with a herd of animals and a million projects. We wouldn't have it any other way. Although being a big lottery winner might not be so bad.
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