Time to move on

My three black redstart visitors keep visiting my bird feeder daily and now that berries are out I fix fresh branches to my roof to see the chicks practice fruit picking. Observing fledglings experiment and learn is always entertaining. An adult female also comes for the berries. I believe she is the mother of Apache, Spot and Ring, and is now raising her second clutch of the season in a bizarre location—evidently, not only great tits like odd nesting sites.

Fruit Salad – These Bavarian black redstarts love red currant, apple, banana and white table grapes cut in pieces (only as long as they are fresh and juicy), but do not fancy raspberries and cherries.

By now, I have enjoyed the chicks’ company for about two weeks. Apache, Spot and Ring paid their first visit to my feeder around the time their parents stopped feeding them, about two weeks after fledging (the mother shows in an early video I took of the birds, see screenshots below). Given black redstart nestlings leave the nest roughly two weeks after hatching, I estimate that the three siblings are about a month and a half old and they now look ready for the next move forward in their perilous journey to adulthood.

During these past two weeks, not a day went by without a visit to my roof, and despite tirelessly chasing one another the siblings stuck together, foraging and flying from place to place in twos or threes. Over the past couple days, there has been a noticeable change in the chicks’ behavior towards independence from each other and emancipation from their birth area―my building block. The fledglings began spacing out their visits to my bird feeder and showing up alone as they now clearly dislike company when foraging. I rarely see them around the garage across from my window where they used to spend many hours. They also seem to be foraging on the ground more. And for the first time food was left untouched at my bird feeder for 2-3 consecutive days.

I believe the young are exploring new parts of town, sometimes just for the day, sometimes overnight. I can only speak for Apache and Spot; Ring was never a consistent visitor. The birds are dispersing away from their birth site and I wish I knew where to, but I can barely distinguish them from other black redstarts now that their feathers have grown back! Of course it is a little sad to see my feeder deserted, but I am grateful to have connected with these little birds and look forward to meeting other clutches.

For now, I  will try to photograph the black redstart nestlings that live in my building’s underground parking.

Here is a short video of Spot and Ring picking red currant berries at my window. Sorry for the poor quality, it is time I replace my old point-and-shoot with a proper video camera (I also had to change the music due to copyright problems on youtube).

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