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Wow !!    

I cleaned out the dead chick and made some bread and milk, put it in the cage.  There was some meeping between them and then Meep flew out of the nest box to take it and Mork flew in to sit the kids.  She flew back in  and they were all huddled for a while.   They were nursing, could we make it ?

Over the next week they were eating every nourishing treat I could put in the cage.  They dropped off the bread and milk after a few days and stuck on solids (seeds).  They sat their chicks in shifts.  At the end of her shift, Meep would sit on the edge of the nest and stretch her wings, then fly across the cage to a perch and stretch them again.  So good to have a bit of space.  Then down to eat and drink, a bit of beak wiping, then up somewhere for a good preen.  That sort of thing.

When they were feeding the babies, they’d come up and down in relay.  One having a good feed and a little digestion while the other sat in the nest,  then the change over.  If they hadn’t been so busy they might have enjoyed it.  Whatever happened, there was always one of them in the nest, sometimes they’d both be in there and there’d be the sounds of rearrangement of some sort, who knows what.  Or just a bit of snuggling.  But Mork slept out on the roost, a sentry and to give the family a little more room.

After about a week,  one evening, a sound of a different sort came from within the nest.  Different pitch, lighter sounding.  The next afternoon, more of the same.  Outside the cage everyone was on tenterhooks, but inside it was all “hey ho”.

The third evening,  they were all in the nest when I thought I saw three beaks peeking over the top, then .......  not sure.  Then ......... brrrrrr.........  and a small ball of grey feathers flew in a horizontal line from the nest box, the ten feet across the cage to crash into the spider plant opposite.  Back at the nest his mum and dad were up on the edge of it jumping up and down and hugging each other and cheering!!   Me too,  at a moment like that, joy was unconfined.

After they’d got past their moments of glee, they had to take in what his situation was.  I mean, there he was, their first fledgeling, crashing about scared witless in a distant bunch of foliage, something he’d never seen before and was now his first encounter with the world.  They began calling to him, words of encouragement and advice, mainly “get to the edge and stand on it”.    After they’d talked him to the edge of the pot they tried getting him to fly back to the nest.   He was having none of it, just the distance from the ground was terrifying after his ‘maiden’ flight.  There was no way he was going to repeat the experience of flying tonight, thank you very much.   I mean,  Aaaaaaagh !!

Try as they may they could not talk him back.  Eventually his dad flew across the cage to sit with him and show him how to roost.  They snuggled next together for the night, Mork’s chest swollen with pride.

The next day he got a lot of attention from both of them.  The nestlings were somewhat neglected compared to what they’d been used to.  His dad taught him the rudiments of flying and he quickly got that together.  He was in totally grey, juvenile plumage and his mum and dad gave that a lot of attention, principally in plucking out all his tail feathers.  !!!!   I mentioned before about them plucking a feather, chewing the quill end and then passing it across.  That’s what they did with his tail feathers.  By the end of the afternoon, no tail.

Spectators, passing through, had various crackpot theories e.g. it was to enhance his aviation skills.

The next day they pulled every feather off his body.  God knows what they were up to.  Maybe they were just pleased to see him.  But he was naked except for his head and wings.  Shivering.   “Baldy” we called him.

That same day another two chicks emerged from the nest but they didn’t do the Baldy stunt of flying across, they just sort of flew down.  The next day the last two came out and that was the full compliment, four of them in grey and one in skin.  Brrrrr......  all over the place.

I was in Avian Child Development 101

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