So here we go. That day of the year when me and all the neighbourhood stress out. The day that the blue tits fledge from my nest box.
This year there appears to be only one. One precious chick that the parents have worked their socks off to get this far and now flops around the garden, calling, calling and attracting every predator in the area to come and investigate.
I am out there early on cat watch but I can’t stay out all day. My neighbour is out in the garden enjoying a rare glimpse of warm sun and trying to read a book.
“I have to go in and clean the house,” I tell you. “You have to take over.”
She calls in the help of Blue, the Chihuahua. “You have work to do, Blue,” she tells him. See off the cats.”
I go inside to try to get on with my weekend chores but all the time one eye is on the garden. I try to do the washing up. A Jay arrives. I am torn. Jays have babies to feed too and my blue tit chick would make a good meal. I can’t interfere in the natural order, not really but I convince myself I am going out to check on the washing on the line and it flies off.
All day this will go on. The chick will call and seem unable to fly and I and all the neighbours will fret.
“What happens at nightfall?” My neighbour asks. “You can’t just leave it. You will have to take it in and feed it.”
I tell her that nature has to take its course. I know it has to. I know that the blue tit baby must learn to fend for itself or die but it is hard not to interfere when something so seemingly helpless is under your care.