I subscribe to the 4 F's of bird photography; Find 'em and Focus Fast before they Fly away!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Carolina Wren are wonderful little birds. They sing loudly and aren't afraid of anything. As posted earlier, a pair of Wrens took up residence in the gourd hanging outside our kitchen door this year.
During the last few weeks, they flew back and forth to the gourd, using the patio chairs as convenient perches.
Saturday evening we ate on the patio and noticed small chirps coming from the gourd. The next day, the parents made more noise than usual, with chirrs and scoldings, jumping from the chair to the table to the fence and back again. Obviously, something was going on. Then I looked at the gourd from the shelter of our kitchen door, and saw two babies trying to decide if they should leave the nest. I hadn't expected to actually see the fledging, and boy was I excited! I ran from kitchen to porch with camera in hand, trying to get photos that weren't too blurred by the dirty windows! With a tree nest, the chicks can "branch" or walk along the branches while they strengthen their wings by flapping. When they do try to fly, they can go short distances first. Cavity nesters don't have this option. Once they jump out, that's it. Their wings can't take them back up to the cavity, so you can understand the look of indecision on this little one's face.
Before I could press the shutter on my camera, he jumped down to the ground, looking around as if to say, "Well, I did it. What next?" His sibling jumped too, but I didn't get any good photos of him.
For a little guy who just took a long fall, he seems in good condition, and soon hopped back up to the step. Note the short, almost non-existent tail feathers. "Oops! Did I do that?"
Then he flew/hopped to the top of the stepladder...
...back to the lawn chair...
...and finally out to the top of the swing in the yard, the last time I saw him. Dick said he found them near the log pile in the back of the yard. They quickly knew to go to shelter.
One of the parents came to the gourd with a bug for the babies, and seemed surprised to find no one there!
But they continued to call encouragement to their brave children, while warning us big creatures to stay out of the way. We carefully used the front door when we needed to go into the yard, so we wouldn't accidentally step on one of the chicks, or get attacked by the parents.
Who else was watching this important step in a Wren's life? Our cat Binx, of course. Normally he's more interested in the chipmunks, but all this activity caught his eye. He's the main reason we went out the front door, of course, since he's faster than anything if the porch door is open.
The parents continued to entice the chicks into the bushes at the back of the yard, calling and hopping from place to place. Since the chicks reached their place of concealment and safety though, I haven't heard the parents nearly as much as in the last few weeks. Maybe silence is safety for them too.
I turned a lot of individual photos into a Flash file. Let's see if I can get it to work!