Empty Nest

Things happened so quickly in the last few days. They went from tiny, weird looking terrordactyls to almost full-sized birds in just a couple of days. Were they ready to leave the nest yet? I didn’t think so given what I was reading on the internet, but there’s always a large grain of salt to be taken there.

Yesterday started as normal, with three hungry mouths.

You’ll note however that “Alpha” was out of the nest completely, the first time I had seen that.

It didn’t take long before he found the limits of that ledge. And couldn’t get turned around to come back without falling off.

There was much flapping and terror, but he managed to get turned around.

Meanwhile, I know what Bravo and Charlie were telling Alpha. (I have siblings!) “You’re gonna be in SOOOOO much trouble when Mom gets back!”

By the time Mom got back, Bravo had managed to fall out of the nest and not be able to get back in. Mama Finch seemed unimpressed.

She started feeding Bravo and Charlie, which didn’t make Alpha too happy.

But she didn’t ignore him.

Eating and keeping his balance was an adventure. I kept waiting for him to fall backwards off the ledge, but he managed.

Eventually everyone got fed, but I don’t think any of the chicks EVER thought they had gotten “enough.” An alien concept to them.

Then I came out to the kitchen and saw that Alpha had lost his battle with gravity. Fortunately, there were plenty of vines there to grab on to.

But he had no idea what to do next, or where to hide when the big, bad human came out and got close with his camera.

He had a death grip on that vine and wasn’t going to let me grab him, but when I moved the vine up to be level with the beam he was happy to hop back off and sulk in his corner.

The last I saw them last night before the moonrise and fireworks, they were all back in the nest and waiting for dinner.

This morning when I got up, there was a notable absence of any fledglings in the nest. Or Mama Finch. Or any of the males.

I checked out the yard. Dozens and dozens of finches up in the trees, like there always are. They’re a long way from being an endangered species here. Along with the crows, hawks, hummingbirds, thrushes, mourning doves, mockingbirds, and seagulls.

But a quick check showed nothing in the nest except for egg #5 which never hatched. (And maybe a leg over on the left – is that what happened to egg #4?) And no activity anywhere near it all day.

I checked the bushes underneath the nest and surrounding the yard. No sign of any fledgling carcasses or fields of feathers from where a hawk or cat might have found an easy meal. I flushed out a LOT of my lizard dudes, asked them all if they had seen any birds on foot, hitchhiking by. None fessed up.

Were those three chicks ready to fly on their own? Maybe? Probably? They were pretty close, at least.

Did all of the commotion for the July 4th fireworks spook them out early? Maybe? Possibly?

This evening when the birds (and bunnies, and lizards) were all out on the lawn feeding, the birds hopping around, we didn’t see any that looked underdeveloped, but there was one that seemed smaller-ish, and he hopped off into the bushes instead of flying off. Was it one of ours?

We’ll never know.

But I’m going to tell myself that they were all ready, and the fireworks and our BBQ may have inspired them to find a safer-feeling spot in a tree, and now they’re doing their flight training and learning how to catch their own food and it’s all going to be abundant seeds and bugs (or whatever they eat) and gentle breezes and nests of their own one of these days.

Yep! That’s what happened!

1 Comment

Filed under Critters, Photography

One response to “Empty Nest

  1. Don’t worry, they’ve easily enough feathers to get them about safely, especially with your nice thick bushes for cover.
    Well done, finch-daddy!

    Liked by 1 person

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