Monday, May 2, 2011

Bluebird Nestwatch: Day 15

Question of the week:  Which day will be fledge day?  Smithsonian Birds of North America, Roger Tory Peterson, and Backyard Bird Lover's Guide all say that once hatched, bluebird nestlings stay in the nest for 15-20 days.  North Americn Bluebird Society says 17-18 days.  So today, on Day #15 @ 9:05 a.m. I begin my all-morning observations in hopes of witnessing the moment of fledge one day this week.

Armed with a tiny digital camera, I take my usual post, about 20 yards from the nest box, seated on the swing built by my younger brother, Jim, situated next to the camellia walkway named after my younger sister, Sal.  Around my neck are binoculars that were a gift from my older brother, Dan.  We are all here in spirit, rooting for the Eastern Bluebirds for reasons more sentimental than I care to elaborate in a public blogpost.  I anticipate an exhilarating week of bluebird watching.

Every time I look up from my writing, even on this day following the tumultuous world events reported in the morning news, I see one or the other of the parent bluebirds entering or leaving the nest, if not perching nearby.  The death of Osama bin Laden means not a whit to Sir & Madam Bluebird.

What I love most about nature is that it carries on with its work despite the war and disease and disaster that befalls the world, despite good things and bad, despite human attempts to manipulate things.  The will and drive of every living species to regenerate its own kind is a power that can not be stifled.  Flowers bloom.  Eggs hatch.  Seeds sprout.  Babies are born.  They filter out the sorrows, the fears, the anxieties.  They restore the calm, the peace, the grace.

On day 15 of this nestwatch, I am nearly overcome by the beauty and wonder of these bluebirds bringing food to their young, removing fecal sacs from their nest, and perching together on their low dogwood branch of choice amid the tumultuous clutter of the world around them, about which they know nothing.  And me, with an exhausted camera battery.  Not a bad thing, though.  The better to receive the grace.  dkm

p.s. Now inside, as I enter this post, the loud clamor of young bird chatter calls me to the window of my upstairs study, The Aerie.  I look down on the gutter of the porch roof below to see a red mother housefinch and three brand new fledglings, still brown, still fluffing their feathers, just fledged, I'm sure of it, from their nest in the gutter. All four are lined up on the gutter.  Cute, cute, cute.  The three smaller brown ones have fluffy heads.  Their body feathers are in disarray.  The one next to the mother opens its mouth wide in her direction.  She puts a morsel in its mouth and flies off.  The three small fluffy ones stay lined up together on the gutter, silenced.  They watch her go, looking clumsy and forlorn.  But still, they wait.  Be still my heart.  And still, my camera is dead.


Jane Robertson said...

Maybe the bluebirds had a word with the housefinches - told them to keep you happy!!!

I don't think the camera matters - the lovely words are enough, they paint the picture. Sometimes it's good to experience something that is not mediated by the camera lens. (Which is not to say that I'm not looking forward to fledging photos - a family portrait!!!). I can so see the housefinch fledglings, little 'between' bundles.

Every spring I watch the wisteria buds swelling and think - this is a miracle. We are surrounded by a world of wonder. I love the word 'grace' (graceful, gracious...). It is not much used but I have always thought a state to aspire to.

Just a lovely post :-)

dkm said...

And a graceful comment---for which I thank you. Yes, the wisteria---here too---not to mention the fragrance.

No promises about bluebird fledgling photos---a photographer I'm not.

Anonymous said...

awwww Deb! fluffy heads :) I love the ducklings when they are getting their feathers but still have that fuzziness. Especially around the cheeks. Gorgeous post :)