Our second clutch of robins for 2021 flew the nest earlier this week. (I wrote about our 2020 clutches here.) There were three, born Bastille Day: Etienne, Jil and Daniel (named after singers Etienne Daho, Jil Caplan and Daniel Balavoine). Daniel left first, then Jil and…a full 24 hours later, Etienne was still sitting there, enjoying his space and enjoying his parents bringing him worms. He was like one of those kids who won’t move out of his parents house – a real failure to launch. What was truly comical – and a bit unnerving – was that Eleanor and Henri (Etienne’s parents) spent the last few hours he was in the nest perched in our cherry tree (located just behind the nest) squawking at their son. And I mean, squawking really loudly. We had never seen this behaviour. They appeared to be frantic, and we started to worry that maybe Etienne was sick or injured and couldn’t fly. I called a friend of mine who does wildlife rehabilitation and described the situation. She assured me that Etienne was fine and that his parents were simply encouraging him to leave. In other words, it was robin flight school. What they were squawking was, “Fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, FLY!!!!!” And finally, he did. We shall miss them and hope for a third year of clutches in 2022, a third year that we are able to witness.
I have discovered something I probably already knew – that there was a great reason my cats used to keep their little noses pinned to the window when there was a bird in the vicinity. They are such a delight to behold (birds, I mean, though cats are, too)! We have a nest on our porch – will write more about it later, as until the babies have fledged, I shall not exhale. But in the meantime, enjoy this video of birds singing opera – oh yes, they are!
A day late, but regardless, a lovely photo from my trip to Ireland last year. True, the photo has nothing to do with Joyce, but I think he would like it, as would Leopold Bloom. It’s a hen on Whiddy Island.
Years ago I followed many animal-cams. In particular, I loved watching a heron family rear their wee ones. Don’t know why I got out of the habit, but I’ve found a new family – take a peek. They (the osprey mum and dad) are in Maine, and their names are Steve and Rachel. Currently, they have three eggs. Can’t wait to see those eggs hatch and the babies grow.
Two clips of my adventures in falconry. In both clips you get to see why one should always pack one’s flat-iron, and in the first you get to see a) my slow-mo “Wow” and b) my bulbous Irish nose and sagging double-chin. Seriously – am starting to resemble the late Tim Russert (but when he was alive). The magnificent Harris’s hawk’s name is Michelangelo and he truly is a work of art. Thank you, Killarney Falconry (linked above) and Sheen Falls Lodge for this experience. [Thanks to Nick Morelli @icantgetnosleep — on instagram — for the first video and Aparna Pednekar for the second.]
Everything alive is essentially a mystery, and pigeons, with their extraordinary mental and physical powers, are more mysterious than most. They were domesticated thousands of years ago, long before chickens or ducks, which makes them the bird on Earth to which we have the longest close relationship. Pigeons matter.