Well, as human beings, we often become involved with the wild things, sometimes in ways we don’t expect. So it was, that a couple days ago M. stepped out on to the back porch intent on the task of plant-watering. He wasn’t even thinking of the fledglings, although they were now certainly big enough to make things uncomfortable for each other, bulging at the seams of their little home.
But the four little birds were now feathered, and their eyes were open to everything around them. Apparently, they took one look at M.’s towering figure and were frightened out of their wits. Upon some unheard but instinctive alarm, they all, as one, suddenly BURST from the nest, and went flying off towards the trees on the other side of the yard. Well, not “flying” exactly, because it became obvious that they had never done this before. According to M., they looked kind of like Woodstock, in the Peanuts comic strip.
In other words, they “flew,” although—for one in particular—it was a shaky, up-and-down business. Thank goodness, they all somehow managed. Later, I saw one who seemed a bit stuck among the lumber of a small woodpile, watched by what seemed to be a parent. It made an ungainly flop towards the top of a nearby wood-buttressed embankment near the pine trees (the goal), and finally made it.
And that was it. Perhaps two weeks altogether from hatched to fledged. I photographed the nest the next day, and it was still empty. The parents had done their job, and raised their little family, who–spurred by the entrance of one of us monstrous humans–had begun their adult life as flycatchers. Good luck to them. May they catch all the flies they desire!
This post is part of the thread: Elkhorn birds – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.