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June 11, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Mom So Blue

You know how kids manage arrange disasters when you have other plans.

We heard her anger even inside the house. “Momma told you to stay put. Now you’ve done it, you darn kids.”

Blue tinged woman in front of hedge weat=ring feather headress. Actress Gertrude Robinson. (Bain News Service/LoC/USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Really? You’ve got to be kidding. All I ask is a few minutes to grab a bite for myself. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Both fledglings tumbled down like out-of-control helicopters.

The more athletic one careened, realized it wasn’t going well with his not-ready-for-prime-time wings, and managed to clutch a cluster of crepe myrtle blooms before slingshotting itself into a fork in the trunk. (Must be a fan of America Ninja Warrior show.)

The largest one, who belly-flopped a flowerbed mound of yellow Mexican daisy vines, tried to bluff that it was the plan all along.

Mother Blue Jay’s sigh was loud enough to be heard inside.

She abandoned her flight plan (“There goes my morning fig brunch bunch”), banked, and returned to asses the situation.

Inside, we bribed RC Cat with food and catnip to leave the window. The solar screens do block the view, but there was little doubt that Bird Mom was screeching “that cat might lunge out at anytime – even a fat cat(she was too busy to be PC) can be a fast mover. And you know about that old urban myth about the overly enthusiastic dog that “friended” the little squirrel to his ruin? Well, it’s not a myth.”

The next hour was excruciating for everyone.(Except the cat who was flying without wings.)

Bird on fence as seen through window screen (© Image, all rights reserved, copyrighted, No permissions granted)

It’s hide and peep. Mother bluejay perched on fence evaluating babies down. As seen through screen.(© Image)

Mom So Blue marshaled her drill sergeant chirp to coax the treed one into attempting short flights to the fence where he could walk across to a safer location.

Unfortunately the underdeveloped tail feather guidance system landed him on top of a short hedge where she pushed the struggling little guy to over to the twin towering Spanish Dagger plants with hawk discouraging, razor-sharp edged, stabbing like needles pointed leaves. (“Be careful. You’ll put your eye out!”)

I never knew that with beak and claws, a bird could make like a mountain climber and inch by inch walk up a vertical rough trunk. Luckily the Yucca didn’t laugh, ignored the tickling, and didn’t giggle him off.

Exhausted, the little guy finally reach the first level of horizontal branches and wedged himself against the trunk for a brief rest.

“Don’t even think about stopping now,” Mom bellowed. “You maypole around that plant from leaf to leaf until you get to the top, and then wait there while I get that lump of your brother up, too.” That must have been the good child.

Bird hiding in leaves. Bluejay. (© Image all rights reserved, copyrighted, NO permissions granted)

“Is this OK, Mom?” “Sit still. Look green while I get your brother.” (© Image)

The larger fledgling sullenly sat in the dirt making no attempt to gain air.

When Mom So Blue coasted beside him, he angrily bawled “What took you so long? I’m staving.” And opened his mouth so wide everyone could see all the way to down to there. (Not exactly empty – or attractive.)

Mom raised a wing and I was sure she was gonna slap him, but knowing her own child, she gave in and went for some fast food. (Swear there was a bit of beak clacking about “ought to leave you down there for the hawk…”)

Smugly the fat little fuzzball offered, “Well, maybe I have enough strength to move an inch…”

Mom had had enough. Shoved him toward the bush and ordered him to move up by his brother fast. Emphasized by an insistent little beak tap.

Complaining how FPS (Fledgling Protection Service) should intervene, the grumpy child hopped across the hedge top like one of those spiders skipping across lake water. (All the time with great show of flapping fluff…after all he’s a bird. Wanted his mom to acknowledge the fact.)

Hiding bird. (© Image, all rights reserved, copyrighted , NO permissions granted)

Some things are black and white: Mother knows best. (© Image)

Eventually Tweeting Dee and Tweetie Glum figured out how to ladder up the crossing leaves to fence level.

Then, Mom So Blue marched them down the fence towards the dense fig tree foliage.

Waddling and complaining the whole time. “So embarrassing. What if the flock sees us?” they wailed.

“Shake what tail feathers you have, ” she said stoically.

Secret lines of the blues.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

A Wing Note: The baby down event happened Friday when this was written. Maybe the Universe was either kind or had a premonition – prodded those two fledglings to jump early.

There was a huge sudden thunderstorm Saturday afternoon which ripped through with micro burst strength. The blue jay nest is no longer in the tree. The Crepe Myrtle tree cradling it was whipped so badly it had to shed any weight it could to save major branches. Both of the Spanish Dagger plants in the pictures were snapped off at about 2 feet. Hopefully the Blues found shelter in the dense bushes.

There are baby birds down everywhere. Molly looks down during our late walk and spotted one tiny fluff ball frozen in fear on the sidewalk. Considerate as she is, Molly quietly stepped back. We considered, but soon realized the mother was swooping from a nearby tree trying to draw attention away. We moved quickly away. Hopefully the Bird Mom was able to get her little one to hop and hop over to the cover of some dense bushes. Sometime not being allowed to have outdoor cats is fortunate. 

The life of birds is a hard one, yet they still manage to still sing. 

(Happy update: Mom So Blue glided in this afternoon not 3 feet from me to get a sip of cool water from the dog bowl and gave a smug little wink before heading off. We’ve heard them all having conversations in the fig tree next door. Teenagers.)

Need more yucca? Spanish Dagger plant trying on Halloween costumes, or another costume attempt here, or maybe Yucca begging to keep a found pet….

Baby bird in plant. (© Image All rights reserved, NO permissions granted, Copyrighted)

“What is taking Lardo so long? Forget your pride and hop to it, bro!”(© Image)

Birds undercover of dracaena leaves (© Image, all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

Birds undercover of Yucca. Look carefully and you can see one of them resting up for the ultimate humility of walking home followed continually nagging  mom. (© Image)

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16 Comments

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  1. Kate Crimmins / Jun 11 2018 6:57 am

    Birds do have a hard life except in my yard. Also no outdoor cats to contend with. Various feeders to fit the appetite du jour and always water. We have shrubs and trees and groundcover for hiding. Still the hawks get their day too. Saw a huge cluster of bird feathers in my garden.

    Like

  2. pensitivity101 / Jun 11 2018 8:03 am

    Glad the babies are safe. We had 15 blue tits fledge from our nesting box one year. The following year, Barney came to fetch us as he’d found something in the garden. He was very insistent and when we followed him out, there was a tiny blue tit totally exhausted near the path. It was smaller than Barney’s nose, but he didn’t crowd it, just stood and ‘pointed’. Hubby picked it up with a tea towel and put it back in the nesting box as it was a sitting duck for jays and magpies. Mum and Dad came to encourage a second attempt at flight with more success. We called him Kamakazee Pete.

    Like

  3. Robin / Jun 11 2018 8:58 am

    I’m always amazed at how birds can weather the storms, the heat, the cold, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at them. They don’t always manage it, but they are a hardy species. Guess that comes from being former dinosaurs who decided flight was better than being giant land animals.

    So glad the babies are safe and with their mum.

    Like

  4. RKLikesReeses / Jun 11 2018 9:04 am

    Wow!! Bird thriller! Glad things worked out OK. ::whew::

    Like

  5. Carrie Rubin / Jun 11 2018 11:59 am

    How wonderful that you were able to witness that. Most people would look right past it.

    Like

  6. Amy / Jun 11 2018 12:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing this fun story. What a funny and beautiful world we live in.

    Like

  7. 1bl0gr3ad3r / Jun 11 2018 1:54 pm

    Late last week we had one of those unexpected & from the wrong direction Tstorms– crazy gusts and nasty sustained wind w/ stinging hail and cold rain. A robin’s nest, perched atop a tilted exterior light fixture on 2nd floor above metal grates and concrete… earlier that day, momma robin pushed empty eggshells out of the nest & i could hear baby chirps. Worried all night about that little family, dreading what i’d find on arrival the next morning. That nest never budged. Go figure! Now both parents dive bomb me as i try to quickly climb stairs & get inside. Glad the Jays outsmarted the weather this time!

    Like

  8. Anne Mehrling / Jun 11 2018 6:08 pm

    What an entertaining blue jay story! I loved your bird script. Most amusing!

    Like

  9. Miss Demure Restraint / Jun 11 2018 6:39 pm

    Birds are amazing creatures. I guess the common wisdom is that they are the descendants of the dinosaurs. How cool is that? Our local seagulls are the masters of our sky. They are fearless and can be seen chasing away bald eagles easily twice their size to protect their nests and younglings.

    The storm sounds terrible. I sure hope you have a safe place. The weather of late can be more than a bit scary.

    Like

  10. Ally Bean / Jun 12 2018 1:16 pm

    Fun story. Well, not for the little bird, but for the rest of us. Thank you for picking up on it.

    Like

  11. LordBeariOfBow / Jun 12 2018 5:00 pm

    and we humans complain about how tough life is, who’d want to be a bird?
    Lovely post thank you 😀

    Like

  12. aFrankAngle / Jun 12 2018 6:07 pm

    Blue jays are quite the squawkers … especially when watching the youngsters. Meanwhile, wildlife dealing with storms has got to be tough.

    Like

  13. ShimonZ / Jun 12 2018 10:32 pm

    this tender story reminded me of the handsome bluejays I saw in your country. Nechama (Russian Blue) and I watch the blackbirds on our fig tree. They worry more about the crows who visit from time to time. They have no fear of Nechama. Word has gotten out that she’s decadent, having given up hunting for chicken breast, served by a bearded monkey…

    Like

  14. Roxie / Jun 13 2018 9:55 am

    happy to hear that the family is well. I know the storms we get around here microburst into hail, and I fear for those new birds, my outdoor rescue felines, too. weather is hard, and I love that you reminded us that they still sing. we should all rejoice after the storm, no matter which type it is.

    Like

  15. shoreacres / Jun 13 2018 5:53 pm

    I heard that there was quite a storm when I was out of town. You’ve just confirmed it. I always worry about the birds in such weather, especially in this nesting season. They certainly do have coping skills! I’m glad you were around to witness and record this family’s success!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2018 7:09 pm

      Honestly I haven’t seen wind whip our tall fan palms like that before – was almost certain we were going to lose at least on crepe myrtle from the winds. Never saw green or hail or heard trains, but wouldn’t have been surprised. A neighbor had part of her fence blown down.
      It was a chance encounter with the birdsongs – heard a thump, saw fluff trying to right himself – as the second one helicoptered down. Shoved the dog inside and watched out the windows (Mom was not pleased with our presence – even with the solar screens.) Saw the not as fluffy, and more feathered babies sleeping in the neighbor’s fig tree. Whew!
      Can’t wait to hear about your flights of fancy from the road.
      Thanks for landing here with a comment

      Like

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