Well, the baby birds have left the nest, leaving the dud egg behind!
I heard a thunk on the dining room window while I was sitting at the computer and looked up to see a fledgling wren bouncing off in a mad, fluttering spiral. As I watched, the three other birds popped out in turn, like kernels of popcorn. I ran and got Man-Cub and The Viking to witness the event and we all ran out to the porch.
By the time we got there (after securing the dog, who was going crazy), we found the fledglings in various stages of departure.
This brave one got to the edge of the porch and gave us a rather contemptuous look before flying impressively to the tall oak tree a few feet away.
This one had all the ambition of the first, but proved to be more of a bird-brain. Perhaps it was just dazed from its close encounter with the dining room window, but it kept heaving itself against the wall as if it was the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10. Also, it appears to have been quite a while since we last swept the dark corners of the porch, hmmm?
This little guy hopped all over the shelf the nest was situated on, but didn't seem to keen on the idea of flight. Of course, it very well may have been blinded by the persistent flash of the camera.
This is the one that made me laugh. It popped out of the nest and sat on the rim of the basket. And sat there. While its siblings were hopping, fluttering and peeping like mad, it just sat there. Clearly the underachiever of the group. Probably spoiled.
Eventually they all made it to the edge of the porch and then to various trees and shrubs nearby, the mother and father bird shrilly scolding them the entire time. We got comfy on the porch, leaning over the railings to watch what would happen next when, suddenly, one of the first birds to fly off flew straight at us! I saw it graze Man-Cub's head and land somewhere between him and The Viking. Then The Viking said, "Uh, it's ON me!"
That crazy bird landed right on The Viking's leg and stayed there, clinging to his pant-leg! We didn't know what to do! We didn't move for fear of spooking it, then I decided to take a chance at getting a picture of it. I had taken several shots when The Viking said, "Is it falling asleep??" It looked like its eyes were closing. It didn't seem fazed by our presence or the fact that it was perched on a human, so The Viking began walking slowly around the porch to see what it would do. And still it clung. Man-Cub was starting to get excited, thinking a wild animal had chosen to live with us instead of going off into the wild world. But, just as The Viking was getting ready to cup it in his hands, the bird flew off into a shrub. I had never seen a bird do that before; it was the weirdest thing!
We eventually got tired of swatting mosquitoes and went back inside, but it wasn't long before we heard peeping nearby and looked out to see on of the fledglings back on the porch, hanging out on one of the chairs. That raised another question in my mind: once they fly out of the nest, do they ever come back or is that it? Do they still sleep there and stay close to the mother, do they sleep out in the woods together or are they on their own from that point forward. I sense another evening of Googling House Wrens in my near future.
Who knew I would become so interested in birds?