The wrens were gone. The absolute and sudden silence told the whole story. For two weeks the male wren had called and called his very loud arrivals and departures all day long at ten minute intervals but that morning I made my coffee and drank it without hearing a single note.
Just the day before I saw the eldest perching on the edge of the window box. It was fully feathered. It looked like an adult. I assumed some time would be required to learn how to fly but I was mistaken. The nest drama was over. In two weeks time the three baby birds went from eggs to fully fledged adult birds. If I hadn’t seen it for myself I would never have believed it was possible.
The wren family visits on occasion. One day one of the wrens even popped into the window box for a look. Was it a coincidence? Did it recognize the space as home?
Though it only took a couple of weeks to go from eggs to fully feathered adults, the family has been foraging together for about a month. I am sure a lot of information is being shared: avoiding predators … finding the good bugs … enjoying life. One day I saw a couple of wrens playing on the clothes line. The string was far too thin to actually perch on so they kept falling off. Sproing! Weee! Let’s do -that- again! Dismiss it as anthropomorphism if you like but I am convinced they were playing.
Not long after the wrens left I found this little guy:
I wanted to call him Paloma to give him some dignity but when another member of the family spontaneously christened it Bird-Bird that name somehow stuck. He spent a lot of time wandering around the car port — a dangerous place because the colour of his feathers nearly perfectly matched the concrete. I was certain he would get run over. Luckily he didn’t.
I wasn’t sure if he had been accidentally blown from a nest somewhere in the magnolia tree or if doves have a completely different survival strategy. Perhaps baby doves get booted out early to make sure only the very tough or very smart will survive.
This is what an adult white-winged dove looks like:
So he was clearly still a baby. I saw him try to fly once. He crashed into a low branch, tried to perch briefly and then fell to the ground. Yet, though he seemed ill equipped for independent life, he wasn’t entirely abandoned. I did see adult birds watching him from the trees nearby and I assume/hope they were feeding him. He did look horribly lonely and vulnerable though. He was spending all his time alone. My heart ached for him. I couldn’t help comparing his experience with the baby wrens’.
It seems wise to push away judgment though. For as long as I’ve lived here I have heard and seen wrens. Likewise for the white-winged doves. Common wild creatures like these have survival all worked out.
Bird-Bird wandered around the magnolia tree for about a week and then he seemed to disappear. I hope he is alive and well. And though his parents may seem cruel they did give him a good start.