Over the past month, its been quite dry here, during which time we have accumulated less than a half of inch of rain. As such, I have been spending more time than usual watering my lawn, dragging hoses around every hour or so in an effort to keep in green.
An interesting side effect of this is that I have enjoyed a lot of activity of baby birds in my lawn — more so than I would have guessed on my small sub-division plot of land.
Usually when I see a baby bird in the grass, it seems abandoned, having been left to fend for itself. (And since I’ve seen nary a dead bird this year, they have likely fended quite well). However, twice I have witnessed baby birds who, although out of their nest, were still under mom and dad’s care, as the parents were providing a stead supply of food. One bird seemed to grow by the hour and after a couple of days, he was gone, apparently having become mature enough to fly away. All that has left was a pile of droppings where he had been sitting in the grass.
Sometimes the babies are either too young to be afraid or too petrified to move. All they do is watch me as I walk around. I’ve gotten within a couple feet of them and they still don’t move — they just blink. One was perched on my hose. Unable to get him to move, I gently pulled the hose — and he hung on tightly for several feet.
Another time, a baby wren was randomly hopping around looking for food. A parent was following behind, gradually leaving more and more of a gap. When junior flew off, so did his parental unit.
What has amazed me most is when I likely witness a bird’s first flight. (These are a bit older and bigger then the ones that just watch me.) As I approach these birds, they get a bit excited. Perhaps they hop a bit or flap their wings, but they don’t fly. As I get closer, their movement becomes more panicked, with them jumping higher and flapping more furiously; still flight eludes them. As I move even closer, they put forth more effort. This time they might actually rise a couple inches off the ground. In their next effort they fly a few fluttering feet. Then farther and eventually they successfully fly to a nearby tree.
Oh, in case you are wondering about the Mourning Doves, they eventually produced an offspring and soon left the secluded confines of their nest.