Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jewel is Somewhere in the Oak Foliage and the Fledgling Red-wings are in the Wild Parsnip

The Emerald Grove Road nest minus Jewel. Which gave me a bit of a drop in my stomach because as the other two eyasses died, my mind kept jumping back and forth from she's fledged to she's dead. But then I heard the tell tale sound of a young Red-tail begging. That was a huge relief. The sound was coming from somewhere in the oak foliage in the trees near the nest.

Ordinarily a fledgling will expose herself while begging to make sure the parents spot her. Unfortunately in this site she could be completely exposed on the other side of the trees without my seeing a feather of her. I decide to wait.
The begging stops. I surmise the parent has flown out of the Jewel's sight or she's on the other side of the trees somewhere having dinner.
I wait some more, but in the meantime...

A male Red-winged Blackbird flies down from his electrical wire perch, quickly fills his beak with insect matter and stuffs it down the throat of one of the two fledglings hanging out in the Wild Parsnip about 20 feet from me. Dad then flies back to his perch on the wire. The second fledgling, the one pictured above, we'll call him Older, is scrutinizing the insect life in the Parsnip and begins to feed himself.

As you can see the Wild Parsnip is a real bonanza of Red-wing eatable goodies.

No, Jewel hasn't conveniently returned to the nest so I can see her.

This is Younger Red-wing Fledgling. She sits and waits for dad to make
another delivery.

And waits some more not having "gotten it" yet about feeding herself.

Older on the other hand is becoming quite the little self feeder.

Dad is vigilant and keeps both fledglings in the Parsnip. Younger on a couple of occasions has gone into the cornfield but dad tempts her back plants teeming with insects.

Older peers at me from behind a stem.

WAIT! Forget that. Look at all the possible lunch!

The Parsnip is literally crawling with food.

Younger gets another delivery and then waits.

It begins to rain and Older takes a moment to watch me pack up my stuff. Still no Jewel in sight.

But Daddy Red-wing has both his charges in his sight and I've no doubt that as all three fledglings, both Red-wing and Red-tail, have experienced parents that they are at the top of the heap when it comes to their chance at survival.

Donegal Browne

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