Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cleared For Takeoff

The presence of a few twigs on the front porch coincided with the breezy part of spring, during which the local elms give up detritus stored through the winter when things are just not attended to by the Branch Manager.

Then we realized the robins were back. Likely it's the same pair that tried this last year and then, experiencing our coming and going and violating their construction zone, moved twenty feet west to the identical light fixture on the front of the garage. We enjoyed their courtship and shared effort in the construction. That fixture being lower allowed us to easily hold a camera up and snap the eggs, the hatch, the supersonic growth and the eventual launches.

This year, the garage was not attractive to the birds so we blocked off the front door and let Mother Nature nurture.

One half an eggshell appeared on the lawn. We feared the starlings had raided. But Linda's artfully held camera revealed at least 4 hatchlings. Now they're ready to go, all five of them! The image above was taken just before writing this on Thursday May 28. The alpha baby was wanting to do some demo flapping for the photographer, but a watchful parent dived at me. I found myself encouraged to get the heck away.

When I head home for lunch today I expect to see one or two gone. Not that I'm an expert on birds. Or on kids.

But I recall Peter Guy's first day, first grade, as I watched him walk away from me, down the sidewalk.

I remember saying goodbye to Joel, dormitory Freshman, after we unloaded his stuff at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. LiAndra shoehorned into her little red car, off to Iowa. Joe and Sarah, married and gone to fashion their own life and family.

All of them fledged and flew.

"Empty nest" is apt. A little sad, a little prideful, a moment in life when you hear that otherwise inaudible click and know that things have changed at this very moment.

Linda and I will enjoy reclaiming the use of the front door and our mailman will appreciate free access to the mailbox. Life will return to normal.

I just wish those little birds would send a postcard every now and then. Living mostly in a two dimensional world, we could learn from those who live in three.

Friday morning postscript #1: Alpha Baby Robin popped from the nest last evening and spent at least an hour hopping around the yard. Parents were always within sight, sometimes on the ground, sometimes perched above. At dark we lost track of both.

This morning, four still left in the next, enjoying the roominess. Parents still bringing groceries at an exhausting pace.

Monday Morning postscript: By Saturday evening all 5 were gone. Linda and I were fortunate to see flight #1 of Gamma Robin, from the nest, straight line to the Ponderosa, about 20' as the, er, robin flies. The parents stayed attentive throughout the major exodus, not only keeping track of the boots on the ground but also the in-training class still doing wing-flapping calisthenics in the gradually uncrowded nest.

I've added an image of one of the adolescents, could be Gamma, or Delta, or even Epsilon. Instinctively, when they're on the ground, they stay around cover, as this one was, close to the flower bed. From the back they look pretty drab, but on the front the speckled breast is charming. I had no luck getting close enough for that kind of shot. Besides, one could only imagine the hullaballoo over publishing such an image.

We're enjoying using the front door again, but a little sad that the drama is over.

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