Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Two flown the coop

I didn't realise it was as long as it has been since I wrote in this journal. Oh well - time flies when you're having fun - or so they say!

I got home one afternoon and took a peek into the nest as I usually did - I noticed something not quite right - the second time in the short life of these babies. Doesn't this bird mother have any sense at all? Fancy building a nest anchored with polyester twine! One baby had got a piece caught around it's tongue and was trying in vain to move it. All that seemed to be happening was a more severe tangle - and I could envisage a tongue being ripped out or at least sliced.

I gently pulled on it but it seemed to be getting tighter. Once again this human needed to come to the rescue - so out again with the kitchen scissors and with a couple of snips, the bird was freed. All this while 3 adults were swirling and diving towards me as I stood near the nest. I wasn't afraid that they would hurt me but I was concerned about the closeness of them as they flew in a wide arc nearby.

By the time I'd freed this baby, the sibling had become quite unsettled. For days now they have both perched themselves right on the very edge of the nest and even on occasions wobbled about on the twigs close by. It suddenly took off from the gardenia bush and flew just a few metres away hiding behind a fence post. I rescued it and put it back but by this time the injured baby had also taken flight. This time in the opposite direction, landing under the outdoor table. Again humanly rescued and placed back in the nest all was quiet for a few minutes. All of a sudden with a caucophony of baby squarks, they both took off. One, flying for all it's worth over the expanse of pool water, suddenly came to a halt, hitting itself against the fence on the other side. By this time the adults were not only the 3 usual carers, but others had joined in with the urgent squarking which could be heard quite some distance away. By now I was fearful that these babies were not going to survive. They were too small to fly far and if they got outside the parent's jurisdiction would probably starve.

I hunted for quite some time finally finding one under the lip of the pool. Gently lifting it I transported it back to the nest. The other by now I feared had gone under the fence to bushland behind. One safely tucked in I hiked over to the bushy area and managed to find baby number 2 perched in a small tree. Retrieving it to a cardboard box for transporting back to the nest I proceeded back towards home, it squarking all the way, and adults following with wild shrieks - indignant that I had removed this baby from their sight.

Eventually putting baby number 2 back in the nest, baby number one became flighty again and both took off. By now it was twilight and I knew I would have no chance of finding them in the half light. I just had to resign myself that they had 'escaped.'

No sign of them in the morning, but adults are flying close to the trees and giving the occasional squark when I poke my head out the door as if to say accusingly 'you lost our babies!'

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