I am thrilled to report a happy ending to a story that a few days ago was looking extremely tragic.
About three weeks ago, I was very excited to find that a family of blackbirds was nesting in one of the rose bushes in our small garden. My husband reckoned there were about four babies in the nest. I spent the next ten days watching the mum and dad going back and forth feeding the babies. I started to feel that the dad and I had a relationship - he would sit in the kowhai tree next to the drive and watch me as I came home from work...I even started talking to him and telling him about my day...and asking him how the chicks were!
Last Thursday I came home from work and had a quick peek at the nest and found it empty....with no sign of any chicks....and no sign of mum and dad. At first I thought the chicks had fledged but a friend at work told me they take two months to fly away from the nest, and these chicks had only been around for about ten days. So I was gutted...my worse fears had become reality....the chicks had been eaten by something!
Ups and downs
The whole weekend was a roller coaster of high hopes and disappointment. On the one hand, there was no sign of any struggle that the chicks may have had with a predator...no dead bodies or feathers scattered around the place. Also, I found out (thanks to Mr Wikipedia) that blackbird chicks can fledge between 10 - 19 days which would fit the time frame of our chicks. But on the negative side, I saw dad flitting around the place and calling, but no sign of the fledglings, or of him feeding them.
By the end of the weekend I had come to terms with the unhappy outcome, and decided that my new career as a twitcher was just too traumatic to pursue. But yesterday I went to get in the car...and sitting in the kowhai was a big, fat, fluffy blackbird chick being fed by his dad. I do not know what has happened to the other chicks, but at least one of them has survived and is thriving.
Now I am back to watching the nest to see if the parents have another clutch of eggs. I am just hoping I can survive the emotional stress of it all!