Tuesday, July 8, 2014


  My yard is alive with fledglings this morning. Baby Cardinals, Catbirds, Pine Siskins, and Tufted Titmouse are all having their say in the trees and around my bird feeders. Parents are busy flying back and forth in encouragement, and to drop off the occasional supplemental snack.
  I look forward to this noisy, happy day throughout the season and will spend the day sneaking outside with my binoculars and a smile to keep track of the newly-mobile families.
  There will also be a bit of melancholy in my watching, knowing that tomorrow or the next day my yard will quiet down again as the young leave the safety of their parent's watchful eyes and go off to fend for themselves.
 Last year, a brood of Chickadees, which had made a home in the birdhouse by our front door, fledged on the day my son was graduating high school. I sat on my front steps amid the congratulatory banners and watched as the three fledglings poked their heads out one by one and tested their new wings.
  One flew instantly to a nearby tree. Another fell on it's first try, it's mother frantically flying from ground to tree to show it the way. After many attempts and much encouragement,  the little one made it to the low branches of our azalea bush, where it hid for quite some time before flying high up into the high branches of the pine tree.
  My third little friend took one look outside and promptly went back in. No amount of parental encouragement would entice it to join it's siblings. The parents harangued it for a long time then left to see to the needs of their other young. When all was quiet, the little one popped it's head out to take another look. Having fully inspected its immediate surroundings, it hopped tentatively from one branch to the next of the flowering Clematis that shielded the nest. It then hopped to the ground to make sure all was safe. We exchanged a few words as it cautiously made it's way towards my new seat in the grass. Then, in a moment of uncharacteristic daring, the tiny being hopped onto my extended hand. We chatted awhile longer, then, with one great effort, it flew away from me.
  I sat in the grass for quite some time straining to see or hear my little friend before my husband gently called me in to get ready for the graduation ceremony.