This is the continuation and sixth and final posting regarding a bird family that took up residence on my front porch a few weeks ago, just outside a window and a few feet from where I type these words. My apologies if these posts have been tiresome; I personally have found the whole process fascinating. This is the final story of what happened on their last day there when they quite literally flew the nest. To read the previous posts in chronological regression, click here, here, here, here, and here. The following story happened a few days ago; I've been waiting to see if anyone has returned but they haven't. The entire story--from hatching to flight--took just a little over two weeks. Amazing! Anyhow, here's the last day.
I hadn't taken pictures of the baby birds for a few days and thought I'd snap a few. For them I would stand on a chair and hold the camera a few feet from the nest and zoom it. They never seemed really scared, but I also didn't get right up to them. On this day I noticed papa bird sitting on a branch next door; it's a tree the parents would often retreat to. I found it odd that he didn't fly away when I came out. I was able to snap the above picture. As I was taking his picture, momma bird showed up (first picture below). That's odd, too, I thought. The parents are usually skittish and wouldn't allow me to take their photos.
After snapping a few photos of them I placed the chair on the front porch in front of the nest, removed the lens cap from my camera and turned it on. And as I did this I looked up and noticed that momma and papa were now next to each other talking in their secret bird language so I snapped another photo (I'm not making this up...it's pictured below). Hmm...I thought again, this is a bit strange. Sort of like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. But I'm too thick-headed to listen to my own intuition sometimes so I proceeded.
So I climbed on the chair and focused the camera in the nest. Because of the height of the nest and the angle I had to stand at it was always easier for me to see into the nest through the camera rather than with my naked eye. Anyhow, as I looked into the camera I was surprised by a couple things. The first was that I couldn't believe how much they had grown in the last few days since I photographed them--they no longer looked like babies--and the other was that they looked afraid as I pointed the camera at them (they never did before). The below photo is the only one I was able to get before the parents arrived...I felt them before I saw or heard them.
I was standing on the chair with the camera raised when I simultaneously felt the wind of something go so close to me I could feel it passing and I saw something out of the corner of my eye like a shadow fly past. Something so quick I wasn't sure if I saw anything at all. And then I heard them. The parents started flying back and forth directly in front of me--in between me and the nest and around my head--squawking, chirping, flapping. I almost fell off the chair (which is likely what the parents wanted). I realized later that the parents were probably not so much going after me as they were telling their babies to fly away...maybe it was a little of both. Anyhow, as a synchronized motion, all four of the babies simultaneously flew from their nest and the parents followed. Leaving me there in silence slightly dazed and confused. The entire thing lasted maybe 10 seconds. A photograph of the empty nest is pictured blow. It's the closet I've been to the nest; I took the photo today. This weekend I'll remove the nest and wash the poop from the shade to which it is attached, and reclaim my front porch. The natural world--even in the heart of the city--is an amazing thing.