May 7, 2008

mommy and babiesWhat a gloriously happy and melancholy day. Today was Fledge day for a bunch of Purple Martins. A few had ventured out yesterday but the rest (total of 15) braved the big world today. It was quite an experience. The activity level was over the roof. Birds .swooping and chirping. Babies flying to and from trees, back and forth. Squabbles breaking out as the fledgelings kept trying to investigate compartments with their new found freedom from the gourds. I watched and it occurred to me that many of these birds would fall prey to some tragic fate. Food for some predator. Perhaps to green to survive such a dangerous world. I read an article of how somewhere in South America the martins are viewed by some as pests and were driven off by “air horns and an unidentified pesticide”. My heart broke.

At sunset, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a martin fledgling on our chain link fence. I had seen it there earlier and now it was fluttering wildly. I finally realized that its foot was stuck in the fence. It was hanging upside down flapping about and I ran out to see. Thankfully no hawk had seen it there. It would have been an easy meal. I ran up to it and when I was within a foot it dropped to the ground. It flapped about and was unable to fly. Perhaps just too weak from not having eaten. Its legs appeared undamaged. More importantly, its wings seemed OK. I prepared an empty gourd in a cage in our garage. I will evaluate it in the AM and hopefully there is nothing broken.  It looked at me quite curiously, with a tilt to its head. First one way then the other. I fed it half a dozen dried crickets and about a dozen mealworms. It gobbled up its meal with a big bird appetite. Finally it snuggled in the gourd, familiar and safe. To dream of fat dragonflies and a calm, clear, blue skies.

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