Friday, May 7, 2010

And then there were two

Today was a big day for our baby Phoebes - three of them left the nest! Baby #1 flew the coop at 11:11 a.m. Baby #2 followed suit 10 minutes later at 11:21. The next fledging didn't take place, however, until 5:38 p.m. This is the first time I've seen the departures from the nest take place at such a staggered pace. There were still 2 little ones in the nest the last time I checked, and I watched up until it was so dark the camera couldn't make them out any more.

An interesting detail is that the two remaining birds continue to be brought food by the parents. I had always read that the way adult birds coerce their young to fledge is by withholding food, but I didn't really see any withholding going on with this group.

Here's the video of the first bird fledging. Based on other take-offs that I've watched (of "our" birds from last year), this little one is very matter-of-fact about the whole process, and leaves just like it's the most natural thing in the world! (At the beginning you'll note that one of the parents feeds one of the babies and takes away a poop sac.)


The second baby left in much the same manner as the first, following his or her lead and just jumping right on out.

The third baby, however, decides to use the box that contains the camera as a launching platform before exiting to the bottom left of the screen. Watch how the remaining two birds "talk" to their departing sibling:


Baby number four made a noble, yet unsuccessful, attempt at leaving. Lots of flapping, but it couldn't quite bear to let go of that nest yet!


Let's see how long it takes for those last two birds to really stretch their wings and fly away!

15 comments:

Marilyn said...

I thoroughly enjoyed watching your videos, I have never seen anything like it before. Fantastic. I enjoy following your blog.

KaHolly said...

This is such a great opportunity! Thank you so much for sharing. ~karen

Vickie said...

Heather, I'm loving seeing these videos! I have a pair of Phoebes with young in the eave of the deck gazebo, two stories up over my head (TN). Got a glimpse of one baby with head above the nest edge today. Mostly, I'm enjoying seeing the parents pause at the dogwood limbs before flying up with food. So its a special treat to visit your blog and get a better idea of how things may be progressing.
Great footage!

MaineBirder said...

I love these videos! In the second video, it's like the siblings are saying, "jump!"

Great work Heather!

Murr Brewster said...

Oh man. I completely relate to the two left behind. Just not quite enough gumption, and everything had been going so fine. "Guys? Guys?"

Shog said...

Great video thanks for sharing. You don't know me but I owe you an apology. We were both at Flora-Quest and you caught me staring at you Sunday morning at breakfast we were at the same table. You looked so familiar but I could place you until I got back home and was reading your blog. So my apologies for staring it was rude and I should have said something on the spot.

Shelley said...

Do you feel like a proud mommy?? :-) Love your babies!! Loved watching these videos, makes me feel like I was there and cheering them on!

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh...that is just the cutest thing!! I loved how the first little fellow stretched his wings a few time and then just flew off like he's flown his entire life. Loved seeing those little bills open and "talking" also...

I've been so busy (could you send me some more time--I'm too short on it now...) :-)

Heather said...

Marilyn - Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the videos. (And I appreciate you following my blog!)

Karen - You are more than welcome!

Vickie - I'm glad you have a pair nesting so close to you as well. Our parental unit has several spots where they like to pause before they go up to the nest. Aside from seeing them perching there, they leave evidence below the perching spots, too! I'd love to see you paint some baby Phoebes!

John - I think those two are saying "Come baaaaaack! Don't leave us!"

Murr - Isn't it amazing how we can identify so easily with birds and other animals and their behaviors. Can you imagine what it must feel like to be the very last one left?! That must be scary.

Shog - No worries! I wish you would have said something, though - I love having opportunities to meet my readers! Perhaps next year...

Shelley - Yes, I'm very proud of this first brood. Every morning when turning on the camera I would talk to them and blow them kisses when I left the house. I'm sure you're the same with your baby Loons.

Kelly - I know, isn't it amazing how it looked like it totally knew what it was doing?! As for time, I'm running pretty thin on it myself. I guess we need to clone ourselves or figure out how to make the days longer than 24 hours!!

dAwN said...

Awesome videos! I am going to pass this around via Twitter..so cool! thanks

Heather said...

Dawn - Glad you enjoyed them. And Tweet away - the more folks who get to see them, the better. Thank you!

Beyond The Garden said...

Heather these are great!The two left behind have a look that says, "What just happened? How did he do that?" We could all go on for hours making up captions. These videos were so much fun to watch!

Heather said...

BTG - Yes, I agree we could come up with an endless number of things those 2 babies must have been saying/thinking. I hope it wasn't TOO traumatic for them!

Judy said...

I can see why you would spend hours watching the videos of the nest! It is fascinating! I could feel my own muscles shifting as I watched the little ones get ready to launch!

Heather said...

Judy - It really is thrilling to watch them go from the tiniest little thing to a full-grown bird in a matter of weeks. Glad you enjoyed it!