Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Empty Nesters. . . . . . . .

I had a feeling that today would be the day!
Yesterday evening we relaxed with a glass of wine on the front porch, 
admiring our gardening efforts, and watching the parent chickadees
 feeding their offspring above our heads. 

As mentioned before, Carolina chickadees are such amazing tiny
birds who are extremely attentive parents. Not knowing how many 
babies were there, but thinking there had to be several keeping them
working on non-stop food distribution, we just hoped we'd see the 
excitement of the fledging young, but realized it would be a hit or miss 

Today, waking just before 7AM to brilliant sunshine, and birdsong, I dashed
 to the dining room windows, camera at the ready, to check the nest box. 
At first thought this bird was a parent bringing breakfast, then I realized it
 was a baby chickadee probably thinking about moving out and leaving home!

After watching it pop in and out for about 5 minutes. . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . . . . little claws appeared, first one . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . then the other, and in one whoosh it flew right out of the box at lightning
 speed toward a tree in the side garden.
And there I was, for the past week, worrying and wondering how in the
 world those tiny birds would get out of the box and, when they did, would
 they fall down onto to spiky hydrangea bushes and be injured! Who knew
they fly so well immediately. 

Hearing more excited chirping from the box, I knew there were siblings, so woke
Bob and he joined me on the porch. . . . . . . and for next 45 minutes we sipped 
our wake-up coffees, and me poised with the camera until my shoulders ached. 
I took 89 pix of birds sticking their heads out the hole etc!!!

In between fledging babies, one of the parents came back and forth with small
 bits of suet from our feeder, offered a quick taste then flew off with some still
 in its beak - must have been tempting the baby to follow. The other parent was
 probably waiting somewhere in the trees where the babies seemed to be headed. 

I noted that the first bird to leave took the longest to make up its
 mind - "should I stay or should I go?"
The next THREE, oh yes there were FOUR total stuffed in what must have
 become a very crowded and hot box by yesterday (the temperature outside
 reached the mid-80's here), made their moves quickly. Two more headed 
to the trees, but the last one flew up on our roof, bobbed all the way up the
shingles to the crest, and then flew to the trees to join the others.

This has really been a busy week in our garden for birds. We've also had 
four baby Carolina wrens appear - don't know where the parents put their
 nest this year, but they were teaching the cutest babies to look for
food and fly from branch to branch on the fig tree (wrens apparently hop
 about for a while before really flying any distance). The only birds remaining
 close to the cottage we're hoping to see fledge, are the nuthatch family in
 our large birdhouse, and with this very warm weather I'm sure they will be
 moving out any day also.

We do feel blessed to be sharing our garden with so many beautiful birds. . . . 
and now a new generation will be arriving at our feeders.


  1. Mary, that photo just before the collage made me laugh. Look at that darling face. :))) How lucky you and Bob are to have watched these sweet birds leave home. Yes, "welcome little chickadees."

  2. It's a miracle!
    Mary, how lovely you were there to record their escape from the confines of their pretty home and into the big, wide world!
    I'm sure they'll be back to raise their babies in your garden next year!
    They won't forget your kindness in providing a warm sheltered bird house and 'bird' restaurant quality food!
    Thank you for the wonderful photos, they are sweet little birds!

  3. Oh Mary, just look at those beautiful images you got of the parents feeding their young. And the apprehension on the face of the first young Chickadee to fly out. Wonderful post. I'm an avid birder living in South Africa (previous in several countries all over Africa). I loved seeing your species of birds so well documented. Thank you for sharing your world. Have a great day. Greetings. Jo

  4. So pleased that you got to see the little ones leave their home. Last year we managed to see and catch on camera the young Blue-tits ( similar to your Chickadees) leave their nest which had been built in a hole of the stone wall of our house hidden away from any predators. Thanks for sharing your fantastic photos, I could look at all 89 of them. Wonderful.

  5. Oh Mary! You got some wonderful photos! Our baby blue birds left the nest yesterday as well. We didn't see them leave, but we got to watch them fly from fence to ground and back to the bird house where the papa bird kept chasing them away. I guess he didn't want the baby birds to try to re-nest. It was so much fun watching them!

  6. Mary, such perfect pictures. I find real joy in nature.

  7. Very well done Mary - I am so pleased you caught these precious moments. Love their cute little faces - they usually pop out first thing in the morning, I expect that it then gives them a whole day in which to learn about flying and feeding etc before nightfall.

  8. How exciting! I love that you were there to see them fly. What wonderful photos!

  9. So wonderful that you could watch them and photograph the little ones learning to fly. The one before the collage made me laugh out loud, too. He's like, "What you looking at." You have to enter that one in a contest. Thanks for sharing.

  10. These are fantastic pictures. I would love to get a zoom lens. I have a 'couple' setting up home in a birdhouse right outside our bathroom window. The screen gets in the way and the glass is frosted. I'm afraid if I open the window one will fly in.

    Not so sure about wild birds but I raised and hand fed cockatiels for pets a few too many years! The males feed the female and they in turn regurgitate it for the babies. As far as heat, as long as they are out of direct sun they are fine. A tiny cozy home is wonderful during the evenings and on colder, rainy days. You probably know all of this. Hope someday I can catch some good shots of our little birds!


  11. Your bird photos are so sweet! We have a lot of chickadees here, but I don't have any bird houses, so haven't seen them nesting like this. A few years ago, a robin built her nest in one of my hanging planters, so I got to see the eggs and the baby birds from day one - until they flew off a couple of weeks later. It was so fascinating to watch!

  12. What a cute little bird house. And, such sweet little birdies. Such fun to watch.

  13. Chickadees took residence in our bluebird house this Spring - not sure if they've fledged or not. I have missed our bluebirds and hope maybe some will still visit this summer!!


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