Friday, June 01, 2007

Phoebe beebees

I’ve been watching a pair of Phoebes raise their family on a support beam under our deck. The nest is a sturdy one and was also used last year; possibly by the same birds. Made from mud and moss and quite a few hairs from our dogs, it’s a cozy place out of the wind, rain, and sun. The pool pump, which is nearby, adds a soothing rhythmic hum and subtle vibrations.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
Last year they raised two broods of babies. One day when I went out to get a photo of the first batch, I walked up near the nest and said hello babies! in a very soft voice, raised my camera to my eye, and WHOOSH, with a huge flutter of wings they all flew out of the nest, bumping their heads on the underside of the deck as they went. I felt awful. But, they must have been ready, right? No harm done. The parents were waiting to watch over them as they flew into the woods. It must not have bothered the parents too much as they went on to raise another brood in quick succession.

A few weeks ago this year’s first brood of babies hatched.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The parents were kept busy catching bugs to feed them. I love watching them swoop out of the trees to catch their quarry in their beaks. Can you see the bug sticking out of his/her beak?
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

They grew and became very demanding.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I’ve been checking a few times each day to see if they’ve “flown the coop,” as they’ve been fully fledged for over a week now. For the past two days two of them have been huddled on the edge of their nest and they peer down at me with big baby doe eyes. I always talk softly to them so they can get used to the sound of my voice without scaring them. I thought for certain yesterday when I started Johnny up (his summer place is under the deck) that they would startle and finally flee the nest. But, no, they held firm.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

An anxious parent kept watch nearby. I could tell they were trying to coax the kids out of the nest, but it wasn’t working. Nothing like a child that doesn’t want to leave the comforts and safety of home.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

This morning I thought for certain they would be gone. They really didn’t fit in the nest anymore. I took my camera just in case ... yes, still there. The parents were trying to lure me away from the nest, chattering noisily. Or were they trying to coax them to fly? I said good morning, kids, are you still here? I raised my camera, clicked the shutter and here’s the pic.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
One second later, this baby was gone! See how it’s little wings are slightly spread? Well, that baby took off like it had been flying its whole life and landed on the clothesline next to its parent. The parents went wild, flying around the baby and chattering like crazy. They flew into the woods. I turned around to look at the other baby and it looked at me as if to say you ain’t takin’ my picture! and followed its nest-mate. Only one remained and it looked very confused and lost. A few minutes ago I went out to check and the last one is gone too. No more Phoebe beebees. Mr. & Mrs. Phoebe are officially empty-nesters now.

Even without my “help,” they would have left today. They were ready. I feel like an enabler here! Mr. & Mrs. Phoebe, I hope your babies live a good life. You were great parents. Please come back and raise the next crop soon!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey



Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

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