Yesterday evening, I heard a great commotion in the back yard. Looking out the back window, I saw a mockingbird standing in the grass near the bluebird house, doing that wing spreading thing they do. Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird were busy dive-bombing the mockingbird. Meanwhile four sparrows where whirling about, landing on the single stick branch of a river birch that is trying to decide if it would like to grow or not.
Finally, I noticed the little bluebird baby hopping through the grass. Then, with the binoculars, I noticed that there was another bluebird baby already happily flying back and forth between the bird house and the oak tree. There was a third, peeking out of the bird house, not yet ready to make the leap.
I watched, very anxiously, as the grounded baby kept trying to take flight from the ground, mom and pop flying down to encourage him. He straggled through the grass to the base of the oak tree, then proceeded to climb the tree. I was hoping he would be able to fly if he jumped from the tree.
We discussed going out to get him and put him back in the bird house, but I'd seen mockingbird babies straggle through the grass before and finally figure out how to fly and we didn't know if the parents would abandon the whole nest if we messed with one of the babies - putting all the babies at risk.
I turned away from the drama for a moment to finish clearing the dinner table and when I returned to the window, the little baby was back in the short grass near the bird house.
I finished packing away the left overs for my take-to-work meals and when I looked back, the little bird on the grass looked very odd. So I whipped out the binoculars and looked again and let out a Loki-freak-out scream. It was a snake! It was curled up in a ball, squishing the poor little bluebird baby.
Jason went out, but there was nothing to be done for the baby. I told him to kill the snake though. Normally, if it was just a snake in the yard, I wouldn't have bothered it, (unless it was poisonous, this was just a rat snake), but I didn't want the snake climbing up and getting the rest of the bluebird babies. I know he was just doing what snakes do, but still, I put the birdhouse there, I invited them to raise their babies in my yard, I should offer them some protection.
So my hero dispatched the snake. And soon, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird where swooping down to where their little baby had been. Fledgling in the house began peeking out again, getting as far as putting one foot out, but never gaining the nerve to make the jump. I couldn't blame him, I mean, his brother had just been eaten by a snake!
Flying baby kept coming back, climbing in the house, then flying back out again, having a good old time.
If fledgling falls out, I'm picking him up.
And so, other reason I don't let the cats outside.
Loki sez: Pffftt. I could take out a snake.