Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chaos in the Morning!

There was chaos in the garage this morning! There is a nest in an old box on the top shelf in the garage. I knew there were at least three baby birds inside because I could hear them chirping and would occasionally see their fuzzy little heads as I did my chores. My husband and son sit in the garage in the evenings talking about the events of the day and their table and chairs are directly below the nest, but the mother apparently does not mind. She probably realized our constant presence keeps the babies safe from predators like squirrels.

Today was the day the baby birds left their nest, and there was chaos in the garage! There were birds everywhere, flying into walls, dropping from shelves, hopping across ladders. One even fell into an open drawer of my husband's tool cabinet. It was tempting to rescue the babies when they fell, but I knew this would only make matters worse, so we left the back door open and watched through the screen.

When they first started flying about, the mother bird wasn't in the garage. When the first one fell, all of the babies became very noisy and began to panic and they all started leaping from the nest, and that was when the mother arrived. She had a bug in her mouth and appeared to be trying to convince the babies to return to the nest to eat. Two of the babies quickly made it out the garage door and that was when I realized that there was actually five babies altogether. One of the babies fell behind some boxes toward the back of the garage. This was the one I was tempted to help, but I knew I would only make matters worse, so I stayed put. Eventually, she hopped up onto a box and made it out the door. I managed to take a picture of one of the babies as you can see to the right, but it's a little fuzzy. It was hard to take the picture without making them nervous again!

Finally, four of the babies were outside and one remained near the nest. It appeared to be trying to get back to the nest, but it was on the shelf beneath the nest and couldn't figure out how to fly out, then fly back in. Finally, the mother hopped onto the shelf with the baby and fed her the bug. They sat together for awhile, chirping. I imagine the mother was trying to convince the baby to try again, that she was speaking chirps of confidence, saying "you can do this! I know you can do this!" The mother, however, knew we were watching from the door and I think this made her a little nervous so I walked away, and when I returned half an hour later, all of the baby birds had left the garage. I can still hear the momma chirping just outside the garage door and I think she is giving them flying lessons in the oak trees.

There are two more nests with eggs in them. There is another set of eggs in the nest beneath the umbrella where the babies just left a few weeks ago. There is also a nest on the back porch next to the large picture window. After watching a very small bird hopping about in the racks where I keep my gardening supplies, I knew she was looking for a place to build a nest. I did not want her to build it among the supplies because we frequently see the raccoon in that area at night. So, I set out an unpainted birdhouse I had picked up at a craft store. I was wary about this, too, but it turned out to be the perfect solution. The birdhouse has many holes, but the mother plugged most of them up with grass and twigs and these holes are tucked down in the garden tools. She enters through the attic of the birdhouse. I can see at least three eggs in this house. The mother often hops in with bugs, so we thought there were babies inside for a few days, then we figured out the chirping was coming from the garage and the momma in the birdhouse was actually feeding herself the bugs! Yummy!

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