Thursday, July 14, 2016

Empty Nest

This morning as I was sitting out on the deck (in my recently re-located swinging hammock chair), I heard a commotion going on behind me.  The usual early morning commotion is caused by hummingbirds and their refusal to share a feeder. (Are hummingbird-feeder manufacturers aware of this trait? And if so, why do they insist on putting 3 or 4 feeding flowers on a device that will in fact only be utilized by one hummer at at time?) This morning's commotion, however, was not hummingbirds but blue birds.

We have a nesting box in our yard that has been occupied every summer for 18 years.  It came about as the result of a blue bird nest continually being constructed in our drier vent. At the time, we lived in a mobile home on the property. The vent for the drier ran under the house and ended at the exterior wall. I was afraid the heat would fry the baby birds that would eventually abide there, not to mention being a fire hazard. I removed several nest start-ups, but those birds were determined to build there.  I finally settled on a substitution plan. El was a newborn and I noticed that formula cans were roughly the same diameter as the drier vent.  I covered the vent with mesh and attached an empty formula can directly under the opening. The blue birds liked it just as well and proceeded to build anew.  The girls were able to watch several broods of baby blue birds that summer. Early the next spring, we bought a blue bird nesting box and mounted it on a post in the yard. It's been inhabited every year since then.

Back to this morning:  The commotion was lots of agitated twittering at the box.  I spun my chair around to see what was happening. The dark blue dad was on a nearby antennae guy wire. The less-blue mom was on the front of the box. It looked like she was blocking the entrance. An even lesser-blue fledgling was on top of the box. And all of them were making blue bird noises, all at the same time.  I imagine it was the blue bird equivalent to a T-ball game: lots of encouraging yells from the parents and lots of excitement and/or whining from the kid being forced out of his comfort zone.

The young one gradually got used to his wings and fluttered up to the top of the post and then over to the guy wire. Once he flew back to the opening in the box and looked in, but he didn't try to go back inside. (I did take a picture, but the distance was too great to be able to see much. I didn't want to get any closer and risk interrupting the process.)

By the time I had to leave, he had flown over to the big oak tree. He was sitting on the end of a branch with his mom nearby.

And the commotion had ceased.