Sammy the bird that didn't want to fly away
On April 16, 2011, I looked out my door only to discover two Great Crested Flycatchers looking for a home to raise their family. To my delight, they chose one of the bird houses I had bought in anticipation of providing shelter and a safe home for a couple looking to raise their young.
From the moment these beautiful birds decided to nest in the birdhouse, I started taking pictures, documenting the building of the nest, all the way through the time the babies were ready to fly away.
The day was getting close for takeoff and I knew it. The baby birds were getting restless; they were flapping their wings inside the nest, preparing them for flight. I didn’t want to miss the moment. So, I got up at the crack of dawn and with camera in hand and waited patiently for the first brave baby to try a shot at aviation. The parents were in separate trees, both calling out to their young to fly. A head popped out looking around, and then back in the nest it went. Then, without notice, one of them spread its wings out of the opening, while hanging on to the edge of the house for a moment, and then he took a leap of faith and flew to a nearby tree. Four other baby birds followed throughout the day, each one attempting their first flight. The process took four hours.
With the last baby gone, so I thought, I packed up my camera and went inside feeling sad that my babies had left the nest. Later that evening I was sitting on the deck and low and behold a head popped up out of the nest. I couldn’t believe it, there was one baby left and the parents were nowhere to be found. I stayed out on the deck until nightfall waiting for the parents to come retrieve their last baby, but nothing. I knew they wouldn’t leave one behind. So once again, I got up at the crack of dawn, with camera in hand and waited patiently for the Mom and Dad to arrive.
Now, I named this last little guy Sammy. I’m not really sure why, it just seemed like an appropriate name for a frail little bird. I could tell he was scared after being left all alone overnight in the once crowed house. He started calling out vigorously for his parents nonstop. I kept looking to the sky and listening in hopes for the return calls of the Mom and Dad. Fifteen minutes went by and they arrived with breakfast in mouth, ready to coax Sammy out of the nest.
Sammy wouldn’t budge, he’d just stick his head out of the birdhouse, and back in he would go. This went on for an hour, and then finally he got up enough courage to stick one foot out of the opening and latched onto the perch pulling the rest of his body out of the house.
Now stuck on the perch, not willing to try out his wings yet, Mom offered him a dragonfly for his accomplishment, in hopes that Sammy would try to fly next. Four hours went by and Sammy was still not budging, hanging on for dear life, chirping away, afraid to move, afraid to fly.
Dad decided he would give it a try and landed with one foot on the perch next to Sammy. He opened his wings and tried to push Sammy off. Sammy lost his balance, opened his wings, and then, regained his balance still stuck to the perch. By this time, I knew poor Sammy was never going to leave the nest. All three of us, Mom, Dad and I were getting quite frustrated with the little guy. All three of us needed a breather, so I left for about an hour, only to return to find Sammy still on the perch not willing to fly.
And then, I saw Sammy’s brother’s and sister’s, along with Mom and Dad all flying toward our property, landing in separate trees, calling out to Sammy. It was the most beautiful, touching site I had ever seen. One of his siblings flew right by the nest and then sang out to him, as if to say see you can do it. Sammy looked to the sky, took one leap of faith, spread his wings and landed on top of the birdhouse. He stayed there for about five minutes when he lost his balance and slid all the way down the tree to the ground. My heart stopped for a second, I just knew he was hurt. But, ten seconds went by and he was hoping around on the ground. Mom and Dad swooped down to be by his side flapping their wings. Sammy took a couple of hops and then opened his wings and flew away with his family. A tear of joy rolled down my cheek. Every now and then, Sammy lands in a tree next to his old home, and then fly’s off once again to be with his family.
I hope you enjoy the pictures!