Thursday, July 09, 2009

Avian Childcare

My little studio at the student residence is located just off a small courtyard, and across from my door is a little nook in which a bird had built a nest. A few weeks ago I realized there were three tiny baby birds in there and a mama bird who flies back and forth bringing morsels of food for the little squawking babies. The hatchlings are very excitable, and can actually make a very high-pitched racket when clamoring for a meal.

When I lived in Amsterdam in 2001, a pigeon built a nest on my balcony and laid an egg in it, hatching a little baby bird; I thought it was cute so I stepped out on the balcony to take pictures, and shortly thereafter I discovered the baby abandoned, splayed pitifully across the nest, having starved to death. Since that event (and the accompanying trauma of having to dispose of the dead bird and nest by myself) I've been cautious about getting too close to live baby animals. So I didn't try to get a close look at these little ones.

Today I stepped out of my room and noticed that the nest was empty and the regular twittering was a little further away, out in the courtyard. The babies had learned to fly! (They grow up so fast, don't they?) I walked past the courtyard where the little cuties were fluttering around, bumping into walls and windows, still getting used to using their wings. The mama bird was nearby, and squawking loudly at me to move along.

Well, apparently by the time I came back for lunch, the mama was quite tired of humans walking past her baby and had gone on the defensive to protect them. As I tried to cross the courtyard she came at me, landing briefly two times on my head as I retreated back into the main building. I tried to go through a side hallway and come out another door, but there she was, hovering. Mind you this is a very small bird, but still! It was hilarious and a little scary at the same time.

I managed to leave out the back doorway undetected after lunch, and I'm already planning my defense for this evening. Let's just say that the umbrella I'm carrying is only partly because of the gray skies.

Speaking of weather, I'm pretty happy about the forecast for the next few days:

That might be too small to read, but basically it indicates very reasonable, balmy temperatures with little fluffy clouds for the next few days. I'm also excited because this four-day forecast finally includes this Sunday (dim for dimanche) which is when Nate gets here! Yay! And it's a four-day weekend, since the school "makes the bridge" between the weekend and Bastille Day on Tuesday. I'm very excited to show him around Dijon and to have a partner for exploration of undiscovered parts of the city.