Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chickadees leave the nest

Eight babies hatched. You can't see them all here.
Peeping in through the hole.

This week the baby chickadees flew the nest. Although we watched closely, we missed the launch. Yesterday morning they were gone. Eight babies seems like a huge family for two little birds. By the end, the parents were looking very haggard. All day long they played tag team coming with bugs and wiggly, green worms and dee-dee-deeing one another.  Every other day we climbed the ladder, lifted the lid and looked inside to see their progress. We tried to do it when the adults weren’t around, but sometimes they caught us and by the sound of their scoldings they would've liked to thrash us to death.

They are fledged out. Note the bits of green moss at the edges.

From inside our screened in porch we could watch the parents flit in and out.
After they left, I took the house down to clean out the nest. It was clearly the work of artisans and professionals. It had at least three inches of green moss padding the bottom and a finely woven nest on top. Wool snatched from the clothesline, hair, downy feathers and bits of shredded bark were some of the materials that made up their cunning little home.

My mother once told me that the Ojibway Indians, who lived on an island near her parents when she was growing up, used to line their babies’ cradle boards with moss. Later, I learned that moss is very absorbent and has antiseptic qualities. I’m guessing our baby chickadees did not get diaper rash. There is so much knowledge like this that we’ve lost to modernity. I miss them. It’s possible another pair will raise another family yet this summer.


DCaudill said...

Margie...I met you once in Rochester...I'm Jon Caudill's mother. Ceresa told me about your very interesting and enlightening blog long ago, and I enjoy reading it often. We, too, are closely watching a birdhouse on a bellpost here in western North Carolina, full of baby chickadees. Your description of the parents' scolding was exactly what we experience whenever we step out into our yard. Your writing always makes me smile. Donna

Denis Haack said...

I miss these, our little neighbors, already.