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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fly Catchers

We have watched this family of Flycatchers go from building a nest to having 4 tiny eggs to two of those eggs hatching. The little weak globs of baby birds barely able to hold their heads up to now getting ready to fly to their freedom. This family has nested on or under our deck for several years and it has been educational watching them raise their young each year. The mom keeps those eggs covered and warm with her own body and then the tiny babies are also kept warm until they grow feathers. Then the endless pursuit of food to feed them until they are ready to fly and be free.

What I find interesting is the babies or young birds will stay in the nest and be fed until the parents know they are ready to fly off on their own. When that happens the parents stop feeding them and usually after a short while the baby birds will fly out of the nest. Last year it took one bird two days before it was encouraged to leave the nest. When they leave the nest they don't return. The first few hours the mom and dad birds will teach them to catch their own food, and the essentials they need to survive then they are on their own.

Once they are on their own they don't return or try to return to the nest. Their newfound freedom is shown as they flutter around the house plucking insects out of the air. It is not only educational but joyful to see them take flight the first time and gain their coordination and freedom. Our two birds are ready to take flight very soon as the photo depicts. They are fully feathered and almost the size of their parents. When they take flight the parents will be there for them briefly and then they are on their own. Very fun to observe each year.

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