Just one more...
I was up and out in the hide by a little after 6:30 this morning, hoping to see the last 4 bluebirds fledge. And, although it took several hours, I got to see each one leave the nest box. Two and Three went pretty quickly, one right after the other - a slight right out of the box and straight up into the hickory tree at the edge of the woods. Flawless, really.
From there, things took a slightly more exciting twist. Number 4, after many false starts and loads of encouragement from parents, finally pitched himself out of the box...but instead of veering right, he headed left straight to the top of my hide! I could hear him scrambling around up there, but didn't dare go out for fear of scaring him into the side of the house. Meanwhile, Number 5 decided it was lonely in the box so he also flung himself out...and plummeted straight down into the garden. In the meantime, #4 lost his footing, and slid off the hide, landing right next to the opening by my foot. I gently reached under him with my fingers and lifted him up - at which point he took flight and headed for the nearest tree. Mister immediately followed while Mum stayed near the garden. I'm not sure how long #5 was down in the garden, but probably close to an hour. During which time I kept a sharp eye out for wandering cats, squirrels and anything else that might eat a baby bluebird. All seems to have ended well and both parents are still hunting insects in our garden, feeding babies high up in the trees. Whew.
I will add a phone shot of #4 in Extra - taken just before I scooped him up.
In other news, a flycatcher (an Eastern Wood Pewee) has been in the yard the last two days, raining terror on all the other birds. The little thing was chasing Mourning Doves yesterday, after losing a dust-up with the bluebirds. Today, he had a Goldfinch absolutely terrorized as he chased it all over the yard, poor finch screaming in horror. Is it any wonder I've spent most of the day outside?
In more good news, MIL is being released from hospital as I write this. We met with the Head Nurse at the home where she lives and came up with a hydration plan that works around her refusal to drink liquids. It will mainly involve fruit Popsicles and lots of melon (which is very high in water content) offered every two hours. Fingers crossed. Dehydration is a big problem as we age, and a particular issue for people with dementia who may not realize they are thirsty.
I am foregoing TinyTuesday in favor of this tiny bluebird, contemplating his very big leap of faith.
PS: I posted a shot from yesterday on Flickr that I am particularly happy with - a young red-bellied woodpecker showing his displeasure at something he'd eaten. Worth a look - click HERE