Friday, May 6, 2011

The Morning After

We missed the fledge!  I'm heartsick.  Our baby blues took their first flight without us---sometime between 3:00p and 7:30p yesterday.  To pinpoint it more closely, I think it was between 3:00 and 4:00.

They were still in the nest box, reaching and stretching their necks out with regularity when I had to tear myself away from the swing at 3:00 to get ready for a 4:00 meeting.  Though I hoped against hope they would wait till morning, I should have known the stretching and reaching meant they were on the verge of flight---but they had been stretching like that all day, and I was still operating on my morning fledge theory, so I thought it safe to leave.  Live and learn.  

Just before driving away to the meeting (a few minutes before 4:00), I paused in the driveway for a final looksee.  Already then I saw no activity, and chalked it up to the brevity of the observation.  But now I'm sure.  After four days of vigilance, I missed the moment of fledge by a single hour.  It's hard to believe how much anticipation I had built up for seeing my baby blues take their first exhilarating flight, and how much disappointment I now feel that I let them down.

It's another example of the loveliest and most captivating feature of the natural world---that it does what it does regardless of anyone's notice.   Here are a few shots on the morning after.
Silent
Vacant

Bereft

Have a safe and beautiful life, Baby Blues!


Now, as I look back, I'm hoping the odd pattern I observed earlier of the parents flying together low and slow around the nest and in the bushes nearby, followed by the male's funny quiver and fluff dance---the  activity I thought was a series of flying lessons---now I'm hoping it might have been mating behavior instead,  and that maybe a second brood is on the way.   Hope springs eternal.  dkm 







15 comments:

bibi said...

No, gentle friend, you were with them as they flew. This evening as I have a glass of wine I will toast you, good and loyal friend to your blue bird babies!

Jane Robertson said...

Oh no, you haven't let them down! Quite the opposite. You have set them free - enabled them to fly. I know the disappointment must be huge after all that patient waiting - but the world now has more precious bluebirds and hopefully these wee ones will stretch their wings and then return to your woods to raise their own families.

I think it's a wonderful achievement. I like the shots of the well used nest and what I thought initially were more eggs :-O

dkm said...

Thank you Bibi and Jane! Here's to the newbies!

Niki said...

tears and giggles. This is so sad but oh the bluebird ornaments made me laugh. They're cute :) I'm so sorry but what an achievement!! The housewrens didnt even get a look in this time. Well done you and the bluebirds :) XXXXXOOOOXXXXX

Anonymous said...

Bluebirds will often bring up 2 or 3 clutches, so if you clean out the nest you may get a double/triple feature. Here's hoping! Mary

dkm said...

Thank you Bookworm! I was just wondering exactly that. I had read at the NABS website to clean away the nest, but wasn't sure if I should wait till after the season is over, or immediately after the first brood. Do I need to wait till the fledglings are fully on their own? That is, will they come back to sleep in the nest the first nights?

Also, is there research about the time of day they usually fledge?

Pearl said...

Just think about the alternatives-- catching the babies at just the right moments, fleeting, ephemeral OR days of wonderful anticipation--reading and learning about bluebird habits, watching momma and poppa feeding and taking care of the babies, hearing the lovely little "me, me, Me, ME" cries of the anxious nestlings, listening to the poppa's soft sounds from his branch, scaring the cats away, trying to identify the other garden birds,seeing again and again the radiant blue and the rusty orange, the subtle blue-gray of momma and poppa bluebird, and the bright greens and yellows of the garden, the sunshine warming, warming the nest box, the smooth flights of the bluebirds in and over and around and through your mornings and afternoons. I treasure all these moments and willingly trade them for the fleeting few of nestlings metamorphosing into fledglings-- for that I use my imagination. For all of your fans, Deb, I thank you for the wonder.

dkm said...

So right you are, Pearl. And thank you for the reminders---especially re: the soft chirping of Sir Blue on the dogwood branch above us---and for joining me on day 17 to double the pleasure.

Nicole said...

Oh no :/
Sp sorry you missed it!
But like the others already said: You din't let them down.
Wishing them a wonderful and safe Life and hoping for a second brood for you to watch :)!
Best wishes from the desert at the ocean edge! (Had a good morning in the baking sun cleaning a beach with mangroves yesterday :))

Mike B. said...

So sorry you missed it! Here's hoping you get a second chance.

dkm said...

Thanks to all for your good wishes for the family blue.

And Pearl, I loved your portraying the moment of first flight as the fleeting metamorphosis from nestling to fledgling---beautiful!

Jane Robertson said...

I love your comments Pearl. The journey rather than the destination. Though still acknowledge the disappointment...

dkm said...

Jane meet Pearl. Pearl meet Jane. You two would have wonderful conversations---and I would like to be in the room to listen.

Jane Robertson said...

Thank you for that virtual introduction Debby. I'm afraid I'm a poor conversationalist - better on paper/screen!

Nice to meet you Pearl!! Look forward to connecting in the ether :-)

Patricia K. Lichen said...

Oh, I'm belatedly catching up on the end of the bluebird story. It makes me think you need a bird cam. Check out Wild Fidalgo's May 30 post about the tanager: http://wildfidalgo.blogspot.com/ In that post there's even a link to Amazon to buy a bird cam--kinda pricey, but hey! a good bluebird mama like you deserves it!!!