Bird Families

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:

bird bird 1

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:

white winged dove 2 may 2016

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.

magnolia may

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8 thoughts on “Bird Families

  1. Oh yes, I agree with TexasDeb. I don’t really want to stay inside with a book, but I don’t want to find anymore nests, either. Too much tragedy and I don’t want to witness it. The same thing happened here with the House Wrens. No more energetic, liquid songs from them. I miss them.

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    1. It can provoke grief. Sometimes when I ‘discover’ a new plant or insect or bird I realize that my hello also means goodbye. We had Carolina wrens over here. I looked up the house wren call. Wow! What a nice sounding spring you had!

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  2. Some days I’m thrilled with what I observe happening “naturally” all around me and other days I wish I would have stayed inside with my nose in a book. It is difficult not to presume authority over all the creatures living (and dying) in proximity, but I’m discovering so many of my attempts to help out do exactly the opposite. The Prime Directive struggles in a certain science fiction series resonate in a whole new way…

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    1. Yeah. I am a bit ambivalent about the Prime Directive. Most of the time it is probably the way to go but we are also all participant observers and just our presence leaves ripples. When I do act I always hope I will be a positive rather than destructive force.

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  3. A very nice read. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience watching a robin family come and go two different years back-to-back. The time is short but there is a bit of a whole once the leave. I managed to document in photos the last time the raised a family and look at it every now and then.

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    1. Thanks, David! =)
      Watching the bird development I couldn’t help seeing my own situation reflected. I have a son who is old enough to leave the nest. The wren strategy helped me realize that even once he leaves we can still have a connection.

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