It is “that” time of year again in the garden. The time of year when the Blackbird fledglings are bumbling and stumbling out of their nests and are in various places around the garden.
I am so familiar with the “alarm” tweets of the parent birds warning of wandering cats or other dangers. But I am also now very familiar with the soft but gradually insistent “whistlely chirrups” of the fledglings.
Nature has dictated that baby blackbirds fledge with their tail feathers still to grow long and strong and their ability or skill to take shelter in high branches poorly formed. They do not look at all aware of the big bad world they have fluttered into.
I feel for the hard working parents who have devotedly fed several babies and fattened them up beautifully only to then have to find them and feed them in the most obscure and often dangerous places.
Two days ago when the sun shone and the sky was intensely spring blue I could hear two fledglings calling. I found this one here in the Kowhai tree on the reserve on the other side of our fence.
The other was amongst the maidenhair ferns beneath the old Magnolia tree. One quick photo here and I departed very quickly to avoid further stress to the birds.
I scattered food for the hungry parent birds and wished them and their young very well.
I can hear more chirrups already this morning on a blustery spring day. The rain that is forecast for later in the day may help the dedicated parents find better supplies of worms and insects to nourish the family. . Meanwhile I will see what I can find to supplement the food supplies.
It is official. Even the scientists confirm my suspicions. It has been a very windy spring and while we are used to that here in windy Wellington, many of the gales have been much stronger than the usual blustery conditions we live with.
Almost without fail there have been wind warnings forecasting gusts of up to 140kms per hour. Fortunately my particularly patch on earth has a degree of shelter from these northwesterlies. But we have sustained damage, most recently to an old television aerial.
You can see the trees in the tall tree part of our garden taking a buffeting. The fresh leaves of the birch trees are already looking bedraggled and bent in response to the prevailing bluster.
Those are the ones that have survived on the trees. So many have been stripped. In past springs they looked like this.
The rock roses have proved to be hardy and flourishing bushes but the relentless wind sees the crepey flowers brown and shrivel.
And then there are the birds who must be exhausted battling through the endless gusts and the strength of the wind. Look at these two blackbird fledglings sheltering in a sunny and calm part of the garden this afternoon, resting while the parents are off foraging.
As I went outdoors the parent bird flew near me and waited hopefully in the Magnolia tree.
I had nothing to offer him this time but I have been tossing scraps and crumbs out in greater quantities to help the birds survive.
Other parts of the country have been hard hit again today and we are hoping that the winds will abate tomorrow as predicted.