Thursday, 19 June 2008

It's a Big Scary World .....

Especially if you happen to be a lonely little sparrow who's left the nest too early !

I believe that's exactly what has happened to this forlorn little chap (above). I noticed on Tuesday morning that amongst the flitting , fluttering mass of birds was a rather dejected looking little fledgling hunkered down on the ground . All the adult birds were doing a fine and busy job of feeding their newly fledged young ; continously popping back to them to pass over yet another tasty little morsel . At this time of year our three bird feeders can "go down" in seed volume by as much as a third a day - they really are hungry little customers , and many a squabble breaks out between harassed parents all waiting for a perch at the feeding tube to become free ! Sparrows , Green Finches , Blue Tits , and Gold Finches , are all ushering their babies in and out of the undergrowth , on twigs and off them , in to the garden and out again , it can get quite dizzying watching them !
I had seen this little one running up to some of the adult birds and optimistically fluttering his wings in the typical "feed me" manner - he even tried it with a dunnock ! - but he was resolutely ignored . Eventually I decided to check what the situation was with this youngster ; could he even fly ? From the conservatory I could clearly see that he was much fluffier than his counterparts , and still has a "gape" at the corners of his mouth (the exaggerated thick , yellow beak edges which encourage parent birds to be a good aim with the food !!) I walked out slowly on to the lawn , and the poor little thing scuttled to the cover of the Eucalyptus foliage , where he managed a very low "assisted jump" on to the plant , less than a foot off the ground . I went back indoors , puzzling over whether there was anything that could be done to help him ; he's clearly not quite matured enough to have fledged - perhaps he fell from a crowded nest ?

I continued to watch out for "Chirpy" (well , I had to name him didn't I ??) and some hours later a female adult did come and feed him ; diligently for about an hour . Perhaps she lost interest , or maybe he's not even hers , in any case after that he was back under the lilacs in his original station , squatted down .
A good , long look out of the window can reward you with many interesting bird behaviours at this time of year .... difficult not to anthropomorphise them though ! At one time 2 fledgling sparrows were huddled together in front of the window whilst mum collected their grub , and Chirpy waddled in a straight line , fast as he could to huddle on the end of the row ! The twins' mother wasn't fooled however , and although she allowed him to snuggle up he was politely disregarded !
In the evening I put down a jar lid with the tiniest seed in it (mostly millet) and some finely snipped up bacon fat ; leaving it well under the lilac bush . I shall always wonder if he actually got any of it , or whether it was a welcome treat for the teeny woodmice who scamper almost unseen at the edge of my garden fence . I feel sure that he just needs a week or so to mature his little feathers and off he'll go !

Imagine my delight last night when Ashley took these photos of Chirpy , balanced fairly high up (a good sign) in the shrubs next to the feeder stations . Surely no other young bird would just sit there whilst being approached with a huge camera !! He was rewarded with a seed filled flat tray where he can easily get at it .

Here's another pic of him .... aahhhhh !


All Bear said...

Lovely pics Ruth! I'm hanging my head in shame here, my kitty Puddle has turned into a birdy killing machine and try as I might, I can't dissuade her. It was like a scene from Hitchcock's 'The Birds' in my garden recently ... *shudders* I just wish she'd find some other game to entertain herself with. I'm on constant watch with jugs of water to throw at her ... honestly, she's such a sweet kitty in every other way!

Ruth said...

Oh no Paula !!! These kitties do tend to come with "killer instinct" don't they ?! I'm lucky my little dogs don't have a terrier side to them really ! :0)