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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fly Catcher Bird - What Can We Humans Learn From Them.

In the center of the photo is a fly catcher nest with three tiny baby birds in it. This family has been nesting in this exact location for many years now. I'm not sure how long a life span these little song birds have but I feel certain that this is 2-3rd generation fly catcher with the three little babies in the nest. Each year we watch them build a nest in the same place and lay three eggs, then incubate and hatch them into tiny globs of matter with huge mouths.

It is a yearly event that we enjoy watching. Each year there are three little fly catchers that start an epic journey into life. This is underneath the deck where I keep the tractor and the new tractor has a higher ROPS (roll over protection system) so when these guys leave the nest - soon from indications, I will have to remove this part of the deck and raise it up. I will try to duplicate it exactly except it will be higher. When the fly catchers come back next year I'm hoping they will not notice it is different.

I have noticed that the male and female bird will work together to build the nest each year. When the female has it exactly like she wants it she will lay her three eggs and then diligently sit on them keeping them warm until they hatch which appears to be 10-14 days. The babies when born are little globs of transparent tissue with large mouths that dominate their size. Both male and female will then feed them insects that they catch tirelessly throughout the day. After a few days the feathers start to appear and about a week later they are covered with fuzzy feathers. Next we see three little heads above the lip of the nest with the parents still diligently feeding them throughout the day.

Soon they will perch on the edge of the nest and test their wings. Until they get strong enough to fly they will remain in the nest. Some years like last year one will not leave the nest. We have noted when that happens that the parents will stop feeding it and it will get hungry enough to leave the nest to find food. We have been privileged to see them fly from the nest for the first time. The uncertainty of flight, the awkward movement close to the ground for several feet. Then the realization that they have just flown for the first time and they then repeat the process again with each flight a little longer than the last one. Once out of the nest they don't return but the parents job is not over yet. For the next few days the juveniles stay with the parents and learn how to be successful birds. They learn to perch in safe places in trees, avoid hazards and how to catch insects on the fly. All the while getting stronger to migrate later this fall.  Some how they have an internal GPS system built in that will enable them to return to the same specific spot next year.

It seems we humans could learn much from these little flying wonders.

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