So far in this series, I’ve told you about my first ever tufted titmouse pair to make a home in one of my bluebird boxes. I was thrilled to have these little birds that I’ve enjoyed in my back yard for many years finally start a family here!
Up to this point we have seen:
Part 1 – The tufted titmouse mom start a nest and seemingly abandon it.
Part 2 – She comes back ready to finish the nest and put some eggs in it toute de suite!
Part 3 – Seven eggs are incubated and hatched successfully. At least I think they are.
Part 4 – We get to see the nestlings and watch a video of mom and pop feeding them.
Today’s post is all about what many human parents both dread and look forward to.
It’s Time To Leave The Nest!
As much fun as it is to watch the tufted titmouse parents buzzing back and forth to the nest box, eventually they have to leave it. The parents know it and the kids get it after a while. Just like humans, they’re naturally reluctant. Like true titmice, however, they’re also not the most patient with the process-LOL! Today’s video will bear that out, I believe.
You’ll get to see the last pics I have of them in the box before they fledged.
Finally, I’ll tell you about an epic fail that happened to me at the end of this tufted titmouse story. Along with a few shots of the nest I removed afterwards.
How They Looked Just Before They Left
Here are the pics in the box just a few days before they fledged.
Don’t forget you can click on the pics once to see them full sized and then again to close them.
And just for the cool effect, I’ve included a very short youtube video of them just breathing. Very cool!
Here’s an edited YouTube video of the little ones sticking their heads out and getting up into the nest hole. Notice around time marker 13:20 how much effort this takes as the nestling seems to fall asleep waiting for mom or dad to bring them something. I could just imagine the parents up in the tree thinking “Of all the places to fall asleep! You HAD to do it with your head sticking out!” LOL!
Have a look for yourself and see if you agree.
Tai Chi or Not Tai Chi: My Epic Fail
I had been observing and filming the tufted titmouse activity very closely in my back yard. I had not kept a strict log or marked a calendar. Most of the times the guides give you are just ranges anyway. Since I’ve been feeding a watching birds in my back yard for fifteen years, I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing when chicks were ready to leave the nest. It was no different this time around or so I thought.
The day they fledged from the nest, the nestlings were still being fed by mom and dad very frequently. It’s been my experience that when they want them to leave the parents cut WAY back on their visits and food. I’ve had bluebird parents sit up in the trees and downright scold them until they leave the nest. I’ve also seen them land on the box with food and not give it to them. Kind of like “If you want this come and get it”. I observed none of this the morning of my Tai Chi class. So I decided they were not going to fledge that day and went to class as usual.
This turned out to be a big mistake!
When I returned from class there was no activity around the nest box. My heart sunk. A quick run out to the box proved my suspicions correct. There was nobody home! All I found was an empty nest that looked like this.
What I Learned From My Epic Fail
You’ve got to be able to move forward no matter what happens in life. Sure, I could have been totally disgusted and considered the whole project a failure. Not having the video of them leaving the nest did leave a vacuum at the end of the story. But it didn’t make the entire story any less magical and fun. This is reason why I decided to continue on with this series even after this setback.
Aren’t you glad I did? I know I am. This experience has been one that’s changed me even if I thought it was “just another bird fledging” story. Having such an intimate look at such an amazing little bird has given me one more thing to be grateful for in my life. I know I am better for the experience.
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Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!