Our chicks have begun fledging in the past few days or week. It is a treacherous time for them and our work as nest monitors becomes more challenging. Ideally, we like to locate all the chicks and be sure they have landed somewhere safely. This is not always easy to do. Some of them will fly a loop and come back to the nest. But some may land in a tree. They spend less and less time at the nest, tho they still return to eat there for a while. Today I searched for two chicks missing from a nest....wandering around their neighborhood, checking the lake....and finally spotting one of them in a tree! Yeah. Then I found the adult female...and sure enough as I examined the tree carefully, the other chick was perched not far from Mom. We are not always this lucky. Some do end up on the ground and they are usually not fed there. The young ones have difficulty getting lift off from the ground so they may die there if we do not rescue them. I often listen carefully....if you hear food begging but it's not coming from a mouth you can see....start searching the ground. They may be uninjured and able to fly if you can set them up on a fence or the branch of a tree....someplace they can jump off of to get going.
Sadly the storm that blew thru here Friday night may have cost us some chicks. At least one nest had most of its sticks blown out and the chicks are missing. I am very frustrated this past week or so since my car is failing and I am unable to visit nests as I normally do. What a terrible time to have unreliable wheels. I am shopping for a new used car, a big financial life shock to me right now...and hope to figure this all out and be back to checking nests within a week or two in a new old car! Meanwhile I am asking the monitors to do a little more than usual, if possible, so we can be sure our little winged friends are all right. It can be such an exciting time, watching them fly for the first few times....but also a time that is not without some tragic endings. It's hard for me to be unable to go far from home.