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Fledging Day for the Wrens

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When you start seeing pale feathery necks and throats, you know those babies are getting big.

Carolina wrens do not stay in the nest very long. They develop at an incredible rate, being capable of flying at only 12 days after hatching! Please pause to think about that. On Day 1, it's a squirming pink blob of protoplasm the size of your thumbnail. On Day 12, it's almost fully feathered and capable of flight. FLIGHT! What were you capable of on Day 12? Sucking, sleeping, crying and pooping, that's what.

Even I could walk on Day 12, Mether.

When you've been around baby birds a lot, you just KNOW when they're going to fledge, almost as well as their parents do. Carolina wrens give a special squirking call when they get to fledging age. These birds got real jiggy around 10:30 AM on June 23, then settled down for the rest of the day. I knew, knew, knew that 10:30 AM June 24 would be the witching hour, the day they left. And wouldn't you know it, I had an interview scheduled on WOSU Columbus for 10-11 AM on June 24. I had to be up in the tower room, blabbing on the phone about me and my book, Letters from Eden. Can I get an ARRRGH? I mean, these birds were fledging as I was speaking and there was nothing I could do about it. Well, there was something I could do about it. I could give my camera to Phoebe, and SHE could capture the moment I'd been waiting a month to see...

First baby on the rim. Mom below. Photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson.

Not only that, but my camera battery crapped out on Phoebe as this was happening. She couldn't find my spare, so without bothering me (because my kids know when Mom's doing an interview, nobody can interrupt), she grabbed Bill's camera, put my telephoto lens on it, and resumed shooting. Fledging was not going to wait for me, she knew that. Now that, my friends, is a useful twelve-year-old girl.

She is very useful as a pillow, I know that, Mether.

If you'd like to listen to the interview with WOSU's wonderful Charlene Brown (and hear how jiggy I was, knowing the wrens were fledging right downstairs!!), listen here.


Such a neat post--and Phoebe--can you give her an attagirl cheer, everyone.
Like mother, like daughter--as a mother of a highly talented daughter, I know nothing feels better than knowing that thing about the apple and the tree.

Can we assume we'll soon be treated to a storyline on the hummer you're rehabbing (...from radio interview)?

Yep. The story came to its conclusion today. I just need a laptop on which I can download the photos. Having a computer that works really helps with blogging, and life in general. They say its shipment is pending.

Awesome! What a great day! Fantastic work, Phoebe!

Can't listen to the interview now, but will check it out soon.

Way to go Phoebe !
Thanks for capturing the moments for us to view.

Sounds like being interviewed upstairs while babies were fledging downstairs was a 'wrenching' experience. (...sorry)

Hip-hip-hurrah - let's hear it for the useful and talented Ms. Phoebe!

Phoebe absolutely ROCKS!

ARRGGHH! on baby wrens fledging while you had to do your interview.

HIP-HIP-HOORAH! for Phoebe's skills.

And - what the heck? How did Miss Phoebe's legs get so long in that last photo? Are you stretching her overnight?

~Kathi (who would like to point out that while puppies may creep and crawl around, they really aren't walking at 12 days old)

I told Chet Baker he was probably crawling on his belleh at 12 days but he insists he was walking.

The legs...the night I went into labor with Phoebe I told Bill I hoped she got his legs. I had an inkling she did, because of where she was kicking me...Got my wish.

Nice, grasshoppa.

Three cheers for Phoebe! A most resourceful girl indeed. But, I am having a hard time believing she is only twelve. Look again, she is almost all grown up!

Yeah! Way to go Phoebe! It's been fun watching this story unfold.

Yay Phoebe! How sweet she caught them leaving so you could at least see it. :c)

Is that mother wren kind of pushing the wee one out, or do they fledge without any help?

Now that I know that this was going on in the background, I'm doubly impressed at how patient you were with the hunter!

As usual I'm running several days late in reading your posts, Julie. I listened to the entire interview and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As for the Carolina wrens, I'm sure glad you had Phoebe around to "help out." ;o) Way to go, Phoebe! BTW, have you seen any of the wrens recently, maybe the parents, or has everyone left?

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