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Worried Mothers

June 11, 2013

This is the time of year that brings regular “test flights” behind the fence. Baby birds have morphed into the “in between” stage of maturity that only lasts 1/2 of one day; the one where mother has to lure them out of the nest with food in order to let them know it is time to fly.

Mother birds communicate with short, steady and low chirps that are only heard on this one day for each brood; I’m probably imagining it but there seems to be an unusual level of patience in their delivery. Nothing alerting, nothing frantic, no warning tone to it, just the equivalent of one of us coaxing our child to jump off of a diving board “into the deep end” to us for the first time….

The other day I heard this plump mother Jay emitting the “motherly chirp” from a low branch of the massive Pecan tree shading Lizzies. Most readers know Blue Jays, as typically they are the loudest and most obnoxious “song bird” that we encounter in and over our yards. This was most definitely quite “Un-Jay” in its tone.

Mother Jay, what are you doing?

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As I moved closer she stopped and the faint responsive plea that I thought I heard ceased as well. Well, I had the camera and was curious, so of course I investigated further, poking my head into the large honeysuckle bush beneath her. Mother Jay remained clammed up and the response that had come from the area of the bush was no more. After I stepped back to watch from across the lawn mother resumed; on the second or third chirp I heard the response again and peeked into the bush again from a different angle. (Both went silent immediately when I took the first step closer.)

There I found junior frozen still, trying his best to look like a leaf.

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Like all of them on their first flight, he looked too young to be out, so of course I worried that he had fallen from the nest a day or two early. I texted mrs cohutt and asked her not to let any poodles or kittehs out for a while and retreated to the far side of the yard to watch. Mother Jay resumed the coaxing tone and within a couple of minutes baby Jay had clumsily flutter-stumbled to the nearby wire fence. Another 20 minutes and his skills and confidence had risen to the point that he was in the lower “canopy” branches above my neighbor’s thicket err… I mean landscape….. and was safely above the dangerous ground level zone.

While mother Jay was amazingly quiet and restrained during this episode (she never left the pecan tree to dive bomb or distract me), she was back to her obnoxious self within 48 hours.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2013 10:17 pm

    Watching offspring take those first few steps is so awkward and so terrifying, yet special, and so rewarding.

  2. June 12, 2013 8:52 am

    What a beautiful baby! Great photos! May I have permission to copy your third photo?

    • June 12, 2013 1:26 pm

      JES!

  3. June 16, 2013 11:13 pm

    Your season is so far ahead of mine up here in S.E. Idaho. Robin babies are just now feathering up for the most part. Magpie babies are out on the ground jumping around. Noisy little things!

    Beautiful photos, as always I’m finding!

    • June 17, 2013 5:57 am

      Even baby Jays are cute.

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