Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bluebird Flying Lessons: Day 16

Exciting day.  Much activity in and around the bluebird nest box.  I can see heads moving around inside, sometimes peeking out momentarily.  Madame and Sir Bluebird bring food to the door every minute or so.  The big mouths in the house reach and grab and cry with gusto.  I can get a photo of Madam and Sir almost anytime I want one now. They practically pose on their doorstep, or on their dogwood branch, or on the confederate jasmine trellis near the nest.  At times like this I wish I were a more highly skilled photographer.  Click on the photos for better detail.

How will we ever pay for their college?


Taking turns
Making baby food

I think Madam and Sir are giving flying lessons.  First they flew together low and slow across the front of the house several times in a row.  Then, almost immediately following that demonstration, Sir began the most beautiful quiver and fluff sort of activity imaginable.  While hovering in the air a few feet from the doorway, Sir Blue flapped and clicked his wings like crazy, flashing blue in the sun.  Through the course of the morning he has done this demonstration several times from different vantage points, but always within view of the nestlings.  Each demo lasts two or three seconds.  I've taken so many pictures, trying to catch him in the act, my freshly charged camera battery has gone dead again.  Yet not a single shot of the fluttering.  I remember observing a similar activity just prior to the housewren fledging day, and wondering if it was a training session.

Now the parents have begun perching on the black iron birdbath, about ten yards away and directly in front of the house, flying between the nest and the birdbath. It looks for all the world like they are coaxing the nestlings to target the frogs on the birdbath as a good landing place for their first outflying.  Sir even offered a version of his quiver and fluff dance from the top of one of the frog heads.

Please, oh please, baby blues, wait until tomorrow to fledge.  My camera is dead and it's supposed to rain soon.  This would not be a good time to come out.  Besides, I've got obligations that call me away from my perch this afternoon and evening.  Here's hoping my guess is correct that the magic hour of fledging is 10:00-11:00 a.m., and that today's opportunity has passed.

 I've invited my good friend Pearl, whose nickname is Bluebird, to come and watch with me tomorrow.  We'll wear clothing that will blend into our surroundings and bring cameras, binoculars, quiet paperwork, and good snacks---to make a morning of it.  Let tomorrow be the big day.  dkm


Jane Robertson said...

The suspense!! I was thinking mystery...thriller...but of course not - I think you've invented a whole new genre! (oooh, 'chicklit'!!!).

Maybe the 'quiver and fluff' (great name for a new dance) is documented somewhere. I have watched hens teaching their chicks to peck food, shred greens. They model the behaviour - so why not with flying.

I hope you don't miss them :-(

You take beautiful photos - don't despair.

Please tell me about confederate jasmine. Jasmine I know but I am intrigued by the 'confederate' with its historic associations.

dkm said...

I don't think our Confederate Jasmine is a true jasmine, but it has a similar fragrance and grows everywhere in the southeastern U.S., hence the name. It is also called Star Jasmine. It's a climbing vine and can become invasive if not kept in check. If you click on the photos of Sir Blue on the trellis by the house you can see a few of the little star-like flowers. They are just beginning to bloom . Too bad you can't get a whiff. They are intoxicating!

Pukeko G said...

Hi Deb .. I often wonder how much energy those birds use hovering and flying around .. they are like 'energised' bunnies. I would be puffing like crazy after all that exercise ! :)

Jane Robertson said...

:-O when I read your post yesterday there were no photos and now lovely flashes of blue everywhere! These photos are wonderful. I know how difficult it is to snap small birds. I do like the one of them lining up - phew! And the final photo - the little head... What a background - trees everywhere. So hard to imagine it is an 'urban' setting.

Jane Robertson said...
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dkm said...

The photos were delayed due to recharging camera---and my impatience to post the text :-) A few turned out better than I expected, but none show the true beauty of these birds. With a point and shoot digital camera, I can't get close enough without scaring them off. So be it. I don't need another hobby to study :)

Many thanks for the quince recipe.

dkm said...

And Pukeko---shearing sheep must be the equivalent amount of exercise for your species :-)---looks like an impossible job to me---

Anonymous said...

We hire a man to come in and shear the sheep. It's a back breaking job. P.G sometimes crutches the sheep (clips around their bottoms) even that is hard on the back and you have to be so careful not to cut them.

dkm said...

Requires high skill and long experience, no doubt. Was that Pukeko with the swath of pink chalk? Hard to tell from that perspective :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes that was him. I tend to act the goat in these situations. Puke gets rather cross with me! lol