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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Farewell Flycatchers

It all started when the Flycatchers arrived near our house around the end of May. My breakfasts on the deck included Shyla at my feet and the flycatcher couple calling back and forth to each other.
They rapidly decided to make their nest in a tray that we have built for the flycatchers who raise their families under our deck every summer. They built the nest in days after making their decision. Then, eggs started to appear, one per day, for four days in a row. This was on Day 2 of egg-laying with my limited view peeking between the cracks of the deck at the nest below the deck.
The female didn't start incubating the eggs until all four were laid. After that, she was incredibly dedicated to sitting on the nest. And, I was dedicated to chasing away all predators! I get very protective of them every year.

Exactly two weeks after the female started incubating the eggs, they hatched! The naked little nestlings barely looked like birds. I didn't get any photos of them but I did get many photos of the flycatchers tending to them. They liked to land on a particular branch by the deck before going under the deck.

They worked as a team, constantly calling back and forth as they both hunted flies and then delivered the flies to their young ones.

I adored watching them every morning.
I was very worried for them when we evacuated, scared that they'd get burned up in the fire. Thank goodness that they didn't!

Just before the nestlings finally left the nest, one of the parents did something I've never seen before. He caught a butterfly and brought it to the nestlings. Sadly, it appeared that the babies rejected it because I found it fluttering on the ground below the nest later in the day.

Finally, a few days ago, the babies took their first flights. The family is still in the area around our house, and I can hear the parents calling to each other. I know, however, that they will start moving further away soon. I miss them after they're gone every single year.

This morning, one of the parents perched where he usually did when tending the nest. He looked straight at me, gave a chirp, and flew off. I believe that was his farewell.
I hope that they have a safe migration and come back next year.


  1. I think he thanked you for taking care of them. Those are great photos!

    Monty, Harlow and Ramble

  2. You captured some really great shots of them!

  3. Aw how sweet (except for the butterfly part)!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. Awwwwww mom and me loved this story!!!
    stella rose

  5. That was wonderful and maybe you could send them a tweet on twitter!

  6. Our Junco parents sometimes brought butterflies, too - I think those babies feasted on them. After our 4 fledged, Sam found one of the babies sitting in an evergreen at the edge of our property. I haven't seen them since. I cleaned the nest out of the wreath, and we put it back up. Just a few days ago, the parents arrived and began building again. Now we have 4 more eggs and must once again try to remember not to use that door! Luckily, we're leaving soon for CA so they'll have some privacy.

  7. What a wonderful experience it is to watch the birth and development of birds. It is truly amazing to watch. We bet that flycatcher was saying "see you next year".

  8. One more lovely story of life at your place, superb catch of a bird with a butterfly, timing was perfect.Hope the little ones fly off safely.

  9. Flycatchers nest under the edge of my workshop roof every year :)
    I enjoy seeing them swooping across the south paddock and my gardens, and perching/bobbing atop fences, but they aren't close enough to the house for me to see them close up very often. And I've never seen the babies, but as busy as the adults are, I am sure babies are there. Your nesting arrangement sounds perfect for the birds, especially with a human to help prevent predation! And it must be really special to have your own "birds-eye" view of the nest :)

  10. What fun to watch them day after day. Beautiful photos, KB!

  11. What a wonderful experience and how nice of "Daddy" to stop and chirp farewell!!

  12. How fun! We used to have killdeer that came every year and laid eggs in our yard. they lay them on the ground so we had to be very careful when out in the big yard. After the eggs hatched we could catch the babies running around early in the morning. So cute to watch.
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  13. The Eastern Phoebe's, that are also flycatchers here are my favorites too! They really are cheeky little ones, and how wonderful that you got to see the circle of life continue first hand, and got a thank-you to boot! It doesn't get any better than that!!

  14. OMD/OMB! They are just precious!!!! We have all kinds of burdies nesting in our yardie every year, and it's just pawsome! Though, nasty, mean, murderous ravens try and takes their eggs! I try and run them off, butts sometimes one of them gets by me. I'm thinkin' of putting in sensor alarms next years, butts Ma says no. pffffft!
    Those are just FABulous pics of the little burdies! til next year my feathered furiends...
    Ruby ♥

  15. The photos are so amazing KB... You are a master at catching beautiful photos!!
    bye bye birdies

  16. How awesome to be a part of that little family every year. They are so cute. I'm sure they are grateful for you, and the safe nest you provide.

  17. Great pictures, thanks for the share!

  18. What beautiful photos and so special about the nest! Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories and photos with us! Love, Kathy and Enzo


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