Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Empty Nest

Well, it's finally happened. The nest is empty. I had a suspicion yesterday. Hubby fed the birds before I got up and I missed watching them feed. I've been observing their behavior each day, watching for a change. Haven't looked in the box since the last update. Close to fledgling time, opening the box could cause premature fledging, so we stopped at day 13. Yesterday was day 19 and it appears that they have left the nest. I noticed that Mr. and Mrs. Blue where not around much, even saw Mr. Blue in my vegetable garden, and that is very different behavior. The days leading up to that, they were attacking every stray squirrel that got close to the nest. I went to CVS and bought a dentist mirror on a stick tool. This one was extra nifty since it has a built-in light. I stuck the mirror in the front door hole and looked inside expecting to see a little face looking back, but all I saw was straw. Opened the side of the box, a little nervous, but I had to confirm, and they were gone. I suddenly felt very sad. No more baby birds to marvel at as they grow.

All this time, we were watching the bluebirds choose the nesting box, lay eggs, feed their babies, I knew that some day the babies would grow up and fly away. That was the goal, right? To have healthy, birds grow up and then that means the whole thing was a success. But somehow, I couldn't help but feel sad.

We decided to feed the bluebirds and watch where they take the worms. They loaded up their beaks with the wiggling things and then flew up, up, up into the tall maple tree that the nestbox faces. I went up to the second story of the house and watched from the spare bedroom window. No screen on that one, so I could lean out. Mrs. Blue got some food and then flew up and landed on a branch eye level with the window, just for a quick break. Then she went up to the tip top of the tree, within the dense leaves, and I could no longer see her. Mr. and Mrs. Blue alternated flying up and down from the feeding station to the top of the maple tree. Watching them plunge down from that tall height was unnerving, yet awesome. Like watching riders on a roller coaster as you wait in line. The babies are safe way up in the big tall maple tree, with mama and daddy to feed them. Suddenly, I felt a little less sad. I can't see them, but I know they are there. Some day, perhaps in a few weeks, we'll see them again following their parents around as they learn where to go to get food and learn the ropes. Of course since I'm their sugar mama, or should I say, their wormy godmother, I know they'll be back.

Nest box after being disinfected and cleaned out. Ready for the next brood.
Will Mrs. Blue lay more eggs?

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