Friday, May 19, 2006

The birds....

Today was the day of the birds, large and small.

We live on a sloping lot on the edge of a great stand of woods, which border a field on the back side. Because of this, and the fact that we have a total of 8 bird feeders (2 suet, 2 thistle, 2 sunflower/mixed seed, 2 hummingbird), we have quite a relationship with many of our feathered friends. This time of year, we see lots of babies coming off the nest, learning from their parents how to obtain their food.

At the suet feeders this week, we've had lots and lots of Starling fledglings. While not the most attractive of babies, they are pretty funny, which counts for a lot. They began this week gathering on our deck, wobbly and fuzzy-looking, watching their Mommy get mouthfuls of yummy suet, begging her to feed them. The first day, she did just that. The next day, the babies got a little more bold and began perching on the rails, looking wobbly still and wanting to be fed. You could tell, though, that she was not bringing them as much as they'd like, so they started competing a little more, becoming brave enough to fly up and perch very precariously on the rope lights we have draped between the feeders. Their attempts to steady themselves was quite entertaining! By the end of the week, though, they were able to get to the suet feeder themselves and get their own food, much to Mom's relief, I'm sure.

As is the case every year, we have wild turkeys that live in the woods behind our house. Now these guys totally crack me up. They walk around in our yard and in the neighbors', seemingly oblivious to what goes on around them, until someone comes outside! Then they hurriedly rush toward the woods, in some kind of turkey race-walk-strut thing. Occasionally, the fly into the trees. I will never forget the first time I heard a flock of turkeys "take off" from the trees at sunset -- it happened to be on Halloween night, nearly 3 years ago. It sounded like helicopters! Now, though, I'm used to them and still find their antics pretty entertaining. I just looked up what they eat, and there doesn't appear to be anything I'm willing to put out for them that would be attractive, so I'll just have to keep hoping for their occasional visits and antics.

But today was the pinnacle of my bird experiences. I noticed this afternoon that there was a baby robin, still with pin feathers, hopping around on my front porch. It looked a little like this:
After it had hopped to the edge of the porch and continued to just sit there for about 20 minutes, I wondered if it was injured. It didn't appear to be -- it just appeared to be lost. I then wondered if it would fly away if I tried to join him on the porch, so, in that event, I took a book with me and, as slowly and as quietly as I could, I opened the door -- fully expecting to be alone on that porch, reading. However, it surprised me and stayed put! I sat down on the porch steps, and just watched for a bit. I could then hear this little bird calling out to its mother (I'm assuming), but not acting as though he were frightened. I continued to sit there, observing in silence, when, surprisingly, it began hopping toward me! I stayed still, and, the next thing I knew, it hopped up on my arm!!! I was shocked!!! It didn't appear ill or injured, or even nervous -- just young. I noticed when it heard an adult robin call, it would call in return. None of the adults seemed to care, though. The baby continued to sit contentedly in my hand, but I knew it couldn't last forever, so I slowly lowered it to the ground, at which time it decided to poop on me! lol I knew it had to happen sooner or later! But once it reached the ground, it flew about 4 feet, and began hopping across the lawn. It reached the woodpile we have under a tree, and began its calls again. This time, an adult robin seemed to recognize, or at least respond to them. At that point, the adult got close to the baby, then turned around and hopped a short distance away. The baby followed. I think I saw the adult feed the little one at one point, but can't be sure. I continued to watch their little march up my lawn, until I couldn't see them anymore. I can only hope that this little fearless treasure continues to survive and even thrive. It certainly touched my life unexpectedly and made my day incredibly special.



Genevieve said...

What an absolutely amazing and precious thing -- to have held the little guy in your hand. :)

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Capriquarian Girl said...

That is so exciting that the baby bird was in your hand! Too bad Runaway wasn't nearby with his camera. I would love to see that picture!