It is late and there are plenty of other things going on in my life and in my head but I promised to keep you all updated with my feathered foster children.
Sneaky seemed to have magically deflated this morning. He’s only heaviest by 1 g. Maybe it was like a defense thing or something. We had weigh in this morning, Birdie was the winner as he’d put on 2 g!
Getting up so early isn’t easy, I’m not really ‘well’ enough yet for a long day and although I don’t talk about my husband’s health too much here, he’s not in a brilliant place either. It’s very demanding. But it’s worth it with every mouthful that they take and every flap they make.
I have two headlines in the blue tit news updates, I will share them briefly before I have to head to bed. I will be up early tomorrow! (You know, for some reason!)
Sneaky seemed to have settled in quite nicely this morning although I’m pretty sure he was the one behind the frequent kerfuffles going on in the tank last night when I was trying desperately to get to sleep. It sounded like one of them had a wee baby blue tit-sized pair of castanets. Maybe someone was just wrestling with the cardboard tube.
This morning when our flock cheeped in the sitting room, we could hear an echo. Small but distinct. We kept stepping into the bathroom to see whether there was a cause or whether we were just cracking up. It’s possible. And hey, I don’t wear my ears in the house anyway. Tracking small sounds is not easy! But there was still an echo.
Husband finally decided that he was actually hearing something and crouched down to examine the cavity more closely.
Whereupon he discovered a small baby blue tit clinging to the stonework. They have good grip these blue tits but this guy takes the biscuit. We named him Rocky. Think of him as the precocious teenager who wants to leave home as soon as but fails to appreciate that he’s still totally dependent on his parents. It would have been good if he’d learnt to feed himself and fly before Rocky swaggered out of the nest.
We contained him quickly and he went nuts. In fact, he made Sneaky look docile. He spent most of the rest of the day banging his head against the ‘glass’ (it’s plastic but you know how you use certain words automatically, well I do, and it’s polystyrene if you want to be pedantic) and planning escape bids. He had a pretty good go at one point too. Rocky, the high jump champion of the passerine world!
It’s getting harder to tell them apart. There’s distinctive features but when they’re all huddled together or climbing over each other or squawking agape ready for their food, it gets a little harder. Five of them now!
Rocky’s desperation to be free brings me to the other news headline.
We let him have a good flap around tonight. With all the doors and windows shut. He took his first flight! Well, the first forays into this new form of locomotion were definitely ‘falling with style’, think more glider than powered aviation. But it was still pretty impressive! He got quite the hang of it after a few more attempts.
By this time however one of the others (we’re unfortunately undecided whether it was Sneaky or Feisty, from the wing feather colouring I would reckon Sneaky) was squawking to join in the fun. The other three had fallen asleep after their feed and stayed that way, obviously unimpressed by such antics!
Well, this one soon got the courage to try too. Husband was just praising him on how he was much more about control than Rocky when he crash landed spectacularly. On the sofa fortunately. It might sound cruel but falling is evidently part of the process and besides, once they’ve got the hang of flapping they really can’t do too much damage. Flapping means you land the right way up. If you’re a baby blue tit, not a human, of course. If you’re human than you tend to do the other kind of flapping when you’re falling.
Rocky went and hid under the sideboard at one point. A little awkward. He had to be retrieved with the guidance of a long-handled paintbrush. Gently of course. He loves to perch so he clung on to the paintbrush. He won’t eat inside the tank either. He’s a little freedom lover. Or a rebel.
It’s amazing to see them take to their wings. I suppose it’s like a first steps moment. But what’s so impressive is that I can’t fly. And to see these wee smudges suddenly get it into their heads to flap these strange appendages of the sides of their bodies and for that to work, well that’s pretty awesome.
So we had two small birds making their first flights today.
Tomorrow I think I’m going to be reading up on the whole fledging process. I hope the other three make it too.
(There’s not so many photos today because several somebodies had a food fight in the tank. Runny beef stroganoff travels far. And wide. And everywhere. It is not a pretty sight).
- And Then There Were Four
- In Other News
- Hand Rearing Small Passerines (external link)
- Blue Tit Factsheet (PDF, external link)
- Blue Tit Facts (external link)