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Lessons to Take, Habits To Break, Part 1

Not based on true events

It is very difficult to rid yourself of old habits. It is especially a struggle for those of tender years to renounce their ingrained young ways, and I should know, for I myself was once a fledgling. In those happy days, I was nought but a ball of soft down with a gaping mouth full of baby chirps and peeps. It was  then that my parents ushered me from my nest, and it was then I obeyed with much apprehension. All day I was bruised and battered and bumped and bounced trying to make use of my newly-feathered little wings. I remember more than once I ran myself smack! right against a power pole, for I had not yet learned how to change my direction. I even managed to fall directly into a gutter of a house during a raging storm only to be pushed and tumbled by the tempestuous water within, and shoved down a pipe and placed plop! a ragged wet ragamuffin on the sidewalk below. I surely do not want to go through such an experience again.

The first true habit I had to break was always returning to the nest to roost. My parents scolded me terribly if I attempted it, and would not end their bickerings until I had quit its comfortable interior. It was awful. In the nest, I had felt safe and secure, hidden from cruel eyes and the cruel weather, but now all I could do was perch on a twig nearby, looking mournfully at my old home. But in time, I learned that my wings now would rescue me when before I had relied solely upon the nest. Even to this day, it pulls my heart-strings to remember that simple, tiny, dear nest, which was not lavish or large ( I would not have been even half as fond of it if it had been ) but cozy and warm. Oh, how quaint it was, and so very homely! With great pain did I separate myself from my only permanent abode. Well, there one habit, that of relying on the nest, was wrenched from me.

To be continued...

Nests and Fledglings

We all have a basic idea of what a nest is. In our mind, we see a cup-shaped basket of woven grasses, hairs and fibres perched in the branches of a tree or twigs of a bush. But not all nests are so stereotypical. Martins ( a swallow-like bird ) claim abandon woodpecker holes as do nuthatches, bluebirds and of course, the woodpeckers themselves. Other interesting nests in Canada include the hanging pouch-of-a-nest made by the Baltimore Oriole. These dangle from a branch like some strange spring ornament and are woven of various plant fibres. Some birds do not even bother making much of a nest. The eggs of the Common Nighthawk are simply laid in a depression on the ground and are incubated by the well-camouflaged female. Finally, there are birds who do not even make nests at all. The White Tern ( which is not a Canadian bird ) simply lays its egg on the fork of a branch and  there fastens the egg with saliva. That is almost the minimum of nest building.

Fledglings are young birds who are learning to fly or have just learned to do so. Some fledglings, like crows and ravens, are knocked out of the nest before they are even prepared to use their wings. Thus, in early and late spring, if you see a small, medium-sized or large crow or raven which can not fly, do not remove it, assuming it is an injured bird. Instead leave it where it is and do not bother or move it to another area for it is most likely a fledgling. 

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