It rained and rained, yesterday. But, just as all hope was lost to see it, the sun popped out of the clouds in a late afternoon sky. It didn’t last long before the new storm clouds obscured the light. But, before that occurred, I was able to sneak outside and take a few shots of the Purple Martin babies that seem to be busting out of the seams. OMG. They are so cute now.
I watched as the top row chicks in the red-barn apartment complex were deceived into thinking that their own parent had arrived with food. Their dejection – when their hopes were dashed – reminded me a bit of my childhood. My sisters and I had to walk to school, but on rainy days my Mom would usually come down to the school to pick us up, much like many (but not all) parents were able to do for my classmates that didn’t ride the bus. I recall the look on a kid’s face when she spotted what she thought was her parent’s car, but the vehicle slowly passed by, and pulled into a parking spot where another group of kids would pile into the car. To add insult to injury, the driver possibly glanced over towards the kids still standing on the curb. Just maybe, she would open the window and proclaim, “Your mom asked me to give you a ride home…” But, rather she just smiled and pulled away.
I get the sense that these almost-ready-to-fly chicks might be thinking, “well, one day I will be able to get out of here and catch my own food!” much like we kids couldn’t wait to learn to drive for ourselves.
Here are some of the Purple Martin chicks that belong to parents that prefer the “single family home” strategy of individual hanging gourds. They still are in a “neighborhood” of other gourds, so a chick can believe that an arriving bird might be his parent.
Siblings in the same struggle for parental attention.
Here’s a parent that has arrived with what appears to be a massively large dragon fly for her kids. She hung on for a while after delivering the huge insect. I don’t know if she would be able to address a choking incident, if it were to happen. But, her attention to how those wings were slowly pulled into the gourd made me wonder of she had a plan for just such an event.
A number of chicks have already flown the coup, so to speak. I felt badly for them, as they endured a full day of very heavy rain (we received nearly two inches in 24 hours.) You can see the raindrops still hanging from the metal pole that supports some of the gourd houses. The second photos shows that the chicks continue to beg for food after leaving the nest.
Robert put up a ladder last week in order to evict a pair of House Sparrows that had moved into a vacant spot in the red-barn house. At the time, he counted a total of 15 baby Purple Martins, just in that house. I would guess there are about the same number in the two different gourd towers that we have put up. The chicks are in various stages of development, but as more and more of them take flight the sound of Purple Martin chortling seems to escalate. It’s a very pleasant sound, to me, so I’m enjoying the process.