Bird Watching

The last bird to leave turns off the light | New


Three of the greats painted a birdhouse that looks like a beach house on the Florida coast – hot pink with a teal roof.

It was only a few weeks before the blue birds moved in, laid three eggs, and sometimes played Jimmy Buffet tunes late into the night.

The family grew up to elusive blue birds, knew when the eggs hatched and counted the days until the hatchlings left the nest. Despite a faithful watch, they somehow missed the departure of the birds.

They cleaned the nest box, installed a tiny camera, and a few weeks later the birds came back and laid four eggs.

Again, they counted the time until the birds could start to come out. When we leave, they all leave.

Our daughter texted before 8 a.m. the other day saying it was about time. One had already piloted the henhouse. Did I want to come and watch?

Of course I did. It would be like watching newborn quads leave a hospital.

No one saw No.1 go, but he was there at the top of the fence. Then it took off, hit a neighbor’s house, and fell to the ground. He was back on the fence shortly after. The n ° 2 also went out unnoticed and camped on a cross member of the fence, low to the ground.

My daughter and I, armed with four cameras, settled into patio chairs to see the last two exiting.

It was a big family affair as nine bluebirds, adults and young (probably from the first brood), hovered perched on rooftops, a nearby trampoline and fence posts.

They protested loudly as I crept into the yard for a better camera angle. I was worried that there would be a reenactment of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds” if I didn’t keep my distance.

We waited. The clouds have come and gone.

Mama Bluebird delivered food to the two cloistered in the nest box and planted a worm in the mouth of the one still curling up on the rail.

Bluebirds are tidy housekeepers. Adult birds poop baby bird in white bag held in mouth. Maybe they get the little white bags at Target or Walmart, alongside the 30 gallon Hefty bags.

Lunchtime came and went. We joked as we phoned DoorDash, asking if they would do Backyard Birdhouse Dash.

Her older sister, in possession of their six combined children and not a huge nature lover, texted the birds would never come out – they had been there too long and would need forceps.

Four uneventful hours later, I called it a day and ditched the watch. Three hours later, I got a call thinking it was the call of defeat.

It was hard to tell through the screams, but it turned out she saw the last two exits, heads in the opening of the nest box, one last push, then fly away, one after the ‘other.

It took eight hours, but she saw the baby birds leave the house and was delighted. The wait for its own chicks to leave the nest will be much longer, say between 15 and 18 years old. No doubt she will be emotional then too.

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