Monday, June 13, 2011

Flying Lessons

"Soak Up The Sun" detail
Oh, I hope you had as lovely a weekend as we did here in Portland.  The temperature was warm, the sun came out, perfect weather for gardening.  And that's how I spent my weekend.  A little "dirt therapy", digging in the flower beds, planting flowers, making the garden summer-ready. 

Midway through my morning on Saturday, while cleaning up my hosta bed, I noticed a small creature skitter along the back of the fence.  I thought it was a field mouse, which is not an unusual occurrence when I'm in the garden.  Always freaks me out a little, but once we realize the other is there, we call a truce and maintain a peaceful coexistence.  A "you don't bother me, and I won't bother you" scenario.

This time, however, upon closer inspection, I saw that it wasn't one of my mouse-y friends, but a baby wren.  So sweet, and downy soft, and very obviously not flying yet.  Trying it's best, bless its little heart.  I have felt fairly certain we had a wren's nest in our clematis (a perfect place, because it was terribly overgrown, thick and dense with lots of places to hide from the raccoons and squirrels and that nosy cat next door who sits on the fence and makes Kip bark).  I'd sit in my favorite spot near the window of our great room all spring, and watch the feathered couple fly in and out, taking bits of moss and twigs into the clematis.  And more recently little seeds from our feeder and tiny worms from our flower beds.  Such a fun discovery. 

So, on Saturday, when this little bird and I found each other, we were both a little surprised.  It skittered off into the ferns, and I sat back and worried that it had fallen out of the nest.  As I sat there, along came mama and papa wren, loudly scolding me and telling me to please step away from their baby.  Which I did.  I moved myself quietly to my wicker chair under the dogwood, and watched and waited.  Eventually, the little family forgot I was there.  Each of the adult wrens would chirpchirpchirp and look at the ground.  Chirpchirpchirp.  Then a tiny peeppeeppeep.  Amazingly, baby wren was responding.  Mama wren flew to the feeder and got a seed, flew back to the ground where the peep came from.  Where I was sitting, I could see mama swoop down to a large rock in the hosta bed, then peeppeeppeep, out came baby.  Mama hopped down to the ground and baby circled her like a little toddler does with its own mother, then opened its tiny beak and mama dropped the seed right into it.  They did a little dance together, and mama flew back to the fence. 

That went on all day long.  I stayed away from the hosta bed to give them their space, and would glance over periodically to see what was going on.  And that's when I noticed the second baby!  Two babies hanging out in my hostas.  The only thing I can figure out, is that the wren parents pushed those babies out of the nest, and this was the weekend they were to learn to fly.

When I finished gardening on Saturday, I worried a little bit about the babies being in the garden overnight.  How would that work?  But, when I went back out to the garden on Sunday, there was our little wren family, mama and papa on the fence chirping away, encouraging the little ones to fly. 

I didn't see them this morning, but mama was at the feeder.  I can hardly wait to get home tonight to see what's going on.  Such a sweet little garden gift.  I hope your day is full of sweet surprises.

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