At breakfast this morning, my husband said, "I miss the bluebirds." I knew they were getting ready to fledge, but it still was hard to see them go. This weekend, we noticed that they had grown big enough to peek out of the hole in the box.
The baby bluebirds kept their parents busy. Every few minutes, one of the parents landed on the box with a new insect to feed the young. Since the box is attached to a pine tree a few feet from the dining room window, this was our morning's entertainment.
The babies fledged yesterday, sometime between 10:30 a.m. when I last checked on them and 12:15 p.m., when I saw a juvenile bluebird on the roof outside the upstairs office window. I hurried downstairs, grabbed the camera and tripod and was setting it up on the porch in the hope of photographing the new fledglings, when I heard an angry squawking. The male and then the female parent flew directly at my head, veering upward at the last second. It was surprising how fast they came at me - I never thought I would be intimidated by a 6-inch bird.
Clearly something major was going on. The bluebirds never had attacked me before, though I'd been observing and photographing them daily for a month. I retreated into the house and then sneaked back onto the porch and sat in a chair, hoping that would seem less threatening than standing.
My husband saw the fledgling first. It was clinging onto a pine tree about 40 feet from the box, and was so well camouflaged that it took me a couple of minutes to see it, even when he pointed it out to me. The baby bluebird didn't seem to know how to use its wings. It would stay still for a minute or two, then make an awkward fluttering motion that moved it a foot or two up on the trunk.
The father bluebird flew over to check on the baby and perhaps to give it food. It is sweet to see how protective the father appears in the photo below.
The baby moved around to the other side of the trunk. I didn't want to risk another dive-bombing, so I let the bluebirds have some privacy. This was the last sighting I had of a fledgling.
I worried about how helpless the baby seemed, but on occasion I saw the parents flying around the garden and heard peeping that I hoped was coming from the fledglings. As I worked in the office, I also saw both bluebirds dive at a squirrel, driving him from a maple tree. And later, the male bluebird boldly chased a red-shouldered hawk out of the yard.
Sweet fledglings, I wish you well. You've got great parents!
P.S. Since I've been accumulating bluebird photos, I might as well share them. Here's a few more bluebird photos from the last month.
|A refreshing midday dip.|
|Female bluebird, wet from the bath.|
|Male bluebird sits on a favorite perch.|
"A man's interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the flora and fauna of a town." ~ Henry David Thoreau