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More Wrens!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scrounging the last photos that I grabbed on a flash drive Before the Breakdown, I have a final Carolina wren post for you. The photo transfer went well, until I threw what I thought was an empty library in the trash and had to re-import it all. What's that they say about learning by your mistakes? I forget.

Phoebe had a great time documenting the departure of the five wren babies from our hanging basket nest, while I was otherwise occupied on WOSU's "Front Line" daytime talk show.

After withholding food for most of the morning, one parent came in with an enormous food item. I'm still not sure what it is--perhaps a moth pupa, perhaps the abdomen of a dog day cicada. It's huge.

I've seen this behavior in bluebirds, too...on fledging day, the parents stop feeding their young, and then sit just outside the nest with something really big and juicy-looking. My interpretation is that they're pushing the nestlings to the limit of hunger, then offering something huge...but telling them they'll have to pop out of the nest in order to get it.

This almost-fledgling isn't buying it.

I'd rather not eat something the size of my head, thanks, Mom. Maybe Mikey who eats stinkbugs will take it from you. Ix-nay on the upa-pay.

Told you Mikey would eat it.

It wasn't long before this nestling became a fledgling, buzzing unsteadily to the shelter of a juniper beside the house.

From there, it clambered to the trellis, where it teetered and panted in the unaccustomed sunshine.

The wren nest was exploding. I know that birds must be able to count, because they have to keep track of five babies in all different places at once. They use their location calls to home in on them, for sure, but they must also be able to count.

Because there was one in the birches

and another clambering up the trunk of another birch

showing its unfeathered flanks and underwings, and two more already behind the compost pile, all of them yeeking and squirking and fluttering and falling. These things are only 12 days old. That they fly at all is a minor miracle.

Over the next couple of hours, all five babies made their slow, stuttery way to the thick sumacs and brambles behind our compost pile. I'm always tempted to help, and sometimes I do, when babies get separated from their parents. Last year I used an iPod to call Carolina wren parents back to get a chick, apparently forgotten in the nest. It worked like a charm. You can read about and listen to the story here.

No need for such intervention this year. The fledging went off smoothly. There was one person who was very relieved to see the babies go, and that was Chet Baker. He got his front porch back. Sunpuppies need their sunning spots.


The look on Chet Baker's face--the front porch is mine, MINE, ALL MINE!

Aw, Chet.
Sunshine feels good to us all.

Baby kingbirds that I've been watching this week seem to be hanging out together... bunching up to be fed on the telephone wires... very cute!

It is always amazing to watch birds try and see to five babies spread all over the yard. Sweet!

Chet looks soooo content. Great wren shots Phoebe!

At last, a reason for an Ipod.

Glad these babies made their way safely out of the nest. And I loved the story about the ipod! That was pretty amazing. Congrats on getting your pics downloaded and your rebuilt mac up and running.

Chet looks quite happy to have reign of the porch again. And good show on the wren babies! Glad they all fledged successfully.

And the relief is seen on his big face :-)

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