Katherine Hayton | Birds
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01 Nov / Birds

So many birds. After mourning the deaths of at least five nestlings over the last week, I discovered a real live sparrow fledgling in the back yard on Tuesday morning.

This is him:

Isn’t he cute?

Last year we had another little fledgling making our back yard his home which you can see here. He was also cute but mysteriously disappeared. Our sparrow fledgling, however, is still with us. Yah!

He’s made a bush in the back yard his home and his poor put-upon mother visits regularly to keep him topped up with worm protein. He keeps trying to fly and, much to his personal chagrin, keeps failing badly.

Yesterday, it occurred to me and my darling that he’s hung around quite a long time now. Surely there’s a time limit on this sort of stuff? I mean he’s very handsome and all that so he obviously has good genes, but you can’t take that to the bank. Surely there are fledgling development goal posts he should be meeting?

Turns out there are.

Sparrow fledglings should leave the nest before they can fly. Confusing to a non-bird species, but tick.

After 1-2 days on the ground they should be able to fly. ????

Their parents will continue to look after them for 14 days. Tick. Good parents.

Looks like our little fledgling has missed the big one. He’s now scared of us, which is good because on the first day he didn’t even know that much, but he should’ve been flying by now. I’m starting to think he’s a special needs sparrow.

That’s fine now, while he’s all cute and stuff, but after a few weeks I’m not sure I’ll feel the same.

Oh well. Cat duty (where my darling runs full tilt at any cats who dare to cross the threshold to our property, hissing and waving his arms) will remain in force for another week.

In other bird news we started to suspect there was a nest in our spouting due to the number of nestlings falling to their deaths on our driveway but without the benefit of any trees being nearby.

This was confirmed when a stick poked out from the side of the spouting and even when I poked at it with a broom I couldn’t dislodge it. A nest in your spouting may be fine if you live someplace hot and sunny, but in Christchurch we occasionally have rain and the spouting serves an actual purpose.

My darling fetched a ladder and dislodged it.

Now, I have used some artistic license in the above renditions (yes that is too art!) as there weren’t actually any eggs in the nest. The nest also wasn’t particularly well-formed and couldn’t even be added to my bird’s nest collection after being forcefully thrown onto the driveway with a broom handle because it broke apart into dried grass. The nestling dilemma remains unsolved.

However, I’m certain there’s some manbird out there right now sweet-talking an impregnated loved one into coming back home to his nest to lay her eggs and he’s about to get a bad shock. Rather like picking up a pregnant woman by saying you have the perfect home for her to have her baby, then taking her to the public park.

Poor little soldier will just have to start again somewhere else. On the bright side at least he won’t have to deal with the potential hassle of taking care of a special needs fledgling.

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog

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