Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Bluebird Chronicles #3: Mother Warned Me There'd Be Days Like This

Bluebird Chronicles Part One: The Arrival

Bluebird Chronicles Part Two: Go Lay An Egg And Wait

"Humans have it easy... usually one baby and they don't have to hunt for food."
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?" ~ Matthew 6:26 (New Living Translation)

After the hatching... the fun begins. Both parents pitch in, the incessant flapping and yearning to get into the big house is over... only the needs of the chicks are important. Mama and Papa bluebird work hard, day and night, to bring tasty morsels to their young; first mama shows up, then papa. She doesn't seem to mind that I sit out in the yard and watch with my camera trained on the house. Papa, on the other hand, is annoyed and jittery; he flies in a large arc from the fence on one side of the house to a spot equal distant on the other side... trying as if to sneak in to feed. Soon the tiny voices of the chicks can be heard above the breezes. All will be quiet, but just a touch of the mounting pole and high pitched "cheep, cheep" sounds come from above. Mama has taught them well... "When we are not here... BE QUIET!"

Beetles and worms and moths... OH!MY!

It's quite a variety of food coming in here.. no leftovers, no complaining..."Oh, Ma, do we have to have grubs again?" Hard shelled beetles, beetle larvae, small moths, earthworms... but no seeds. They didn't seem to be into seeds or the dried larvae I put out especially for them. Those bluebird nuggets didn't fly either. Mama was quite the hunter. One evening I saw her pluck a small moth out of mid air as it fluttered towards the spotlights on our house. And with all the rain we had had at the time, there was no shortage of earthworms and other bugs. The babies don't look too pleased with my flash there in the lower left picture, do they. (above)

The Hallelujah Chorus: "Hallelujah! Supper's here!"

The little birds grew and their chirps became louder and more demanding. I couldn't have been easy in that little house with four growing kids and such a small space. Privacy is non-existent and they are all trying to jostle for first place when feed arrives. The largest flaps his little wings and leans close to the opening... waiting for than next worm.

One interesting thing I began to notice was that mom would bring food, go inside and then leave with something round and white in her beak. Papa never did. Yes, he brought food and dropped it in mouths, but never left with a full beak. Then I realized that Mama was cleaning up... scooping the poop, so to speak. Even in the animal world it is the MOM who tends to those nastiest of jobs.

Back and forth; this mouth, that mouth.
A parent's work is never done.

I never saw more than four open mouths, although there had been five eggs. Probably one failed to hatch and the parents may have cracked it open and cleaned out the shell from the house. No broken shells were found on the ground or in the house after the birds fledged. These four were quite the eaters and posed graciously... ok, sometimes without much enthusiasm. And they grew quickly while mama and papa never wavered in their care.

Mama counting heads (Left)..Curious but cautious (Right) Posted by Picasa

The largest baby was also the bravest.. still cautious, but brave. After mama flew away to chatter at me from the tree and the other siblings had withdrawn back into the house.. this little one dared to watch and peek over the top of his doorway to see what this strange lady was doing. He was met with a flash and quickly scowled.. then all became quiet as they settled down to rest. Their final trials were almost here... it was almost time... to try their wings.

The bluebird chronicles will be visiting Friday's Ark and Camera Critters this week.

(end of post... one chronicle left)

Camera Critters

No comments: