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Revisiting the Nest

Wednesday,  08/06/03  11:27 PM

(click for larger pic)

Many of you will remember "the nest", a comedy of errors in which I nearly killed five baby birds but ended up successfully reuniting them with their single parent, after the unfortunate demise of their other parent.  Here's an update.

The picture at left shows the parent - female, I think, from the fact that she's all brown and the dead parent had a red neck (see "the nest" for details) - sitting happily on her nest.  She has been most diligent and feeds her clutch without fail every morning and night, stopping only to flit about in an aggravated manner whenever we come near.

One of the babies didn't make it, we found her dead on the patio below the lamp.  Whether this was an after-effect of the nest incident or simply Darwinian selection in action I cannot say.  The remaining four babies have grown nicely - they have wings and feathers and look like miniature versions of their mother -and experiment with flying from the lamp to nearby trees.

The flying lessons were pretty interesting.  The mom would make a bunch of noise inside the lamp, flapping her wings and flitting about, and then would fly over to a nearby tree, making a bunch of noise all the while.  A bunch of other birds joined in the chorus.  Then a little one would peek out of the lamp, and go for it, flapping furiously straight for mom sitting in the tree.  Upon arrival in the tree, the mom flies back to the nest, and the baby follows.  Then it is another kid's turn.  They did this all afternoon one day.

We think perhaps three of the kids have now "flown the coop", because only one seems to be in the nest with any regularity.  There's always one, huh?