Our Bluebirds have been quite busy this year. They successfully raised four chicks in the Spring, and promptly started a new family in the same box in May. I guess I can assume they like the habitat we have tried to provide for them.
I knew the second crop of young'uns would be fledging sometime this week, I was just desperately hoping it would be before the heatwave of mid-90's temperatures. You can always tell when the chicks are ready to fledge because they start hanging their heads out of the box hole. You will also often see the parents tease them with food offerings, bringing them a bug as if they're going to just give it to them as usual, then fly away with it as if to say "If you want it, you gotta come and get it". Invariably they either fledge that day or the day after.
Well, all seemed normal as I noticed Tuesday a bunch of Bluebird chicks in the pine tree behind the bluebird box. They jumped sometime around sunrise. This was great because Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday proved to be scorchers and I couldn't imagine how they could have survived in their oven-like nestbox.
Thursday night, Jeff went out to clean the box and repair the dodgey door latch. Oh crap! There was still a chick inside, abandoned and dying a slow death (or so we thought). We were beyond sad, apparently it wasn't ready to fledge with the others and we thought the parents had abandoned it.
Friday morning, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw momma Bluebird bring a huge katydid to the box and carry away a fecal sac. Would you believe that chick fledged either Friday night or Saturday morning?! The parents never gave up on that chick and kept coming back to the box and feeding it for several days after the others had left! We are so glad we didn't do anything to interfere, just like when you see a fawn you *think* has been abandoned, Leave It Alone! Momma deer always leave their fawns somewhere while they forage during the day, they're not abandoned. There was a story in our local paper just this week about all the "abandoned" fawns people have brought to the local Wildlife Rehab Center.
That chick is a survivor, just like our little Ginger (the abandoned kitten we found on Monday). What a week of highs and lows! I'm so tired...
|I couldn't help but think of this famous line from this clip in Monty Python's "Holy Grail"- "I'm not dead yet!"|