Holy cow, it’s flying!
And not just little Kitty Hawk laps around the roof, but soaring beautifully, higher even than my floor. It’s still got a lot to learn–it’s flapping too much, using up too much energy, and when it does try to glide its wings are all twitchy and hesitant; also, the landings need work–but damn that’s impressive. Just a week ago it was confined to the rooftop, and now… the sky’s the limit.
Its siblings aren’t doing so well, though. One is a pretty fair flyer, able to fly for short stretches but not getting much lift. That’s okay, it just needs a little bit more time. It’s the last one, the runt, that has me really worried. I was at an off-site training session all day yesterday, but my coworker (who’s almost as interested in these critters as I am) told me it got stuck on a lower, adjoining roof since yesterday, and couldn’t get back up. It’s only about a yard up, but that’s more than the little guy can manage. And this morning, it looked in bad shape; its wing feathers looked all scraggly, its balance was bad, it just didn’t seem to have a lot of energy. Had it even been eating and drinking? Were the parents feeding it?
Turns out, yes they are. So it won’t starve just yet. But I’m wondering how long the adults will keep feeding their chicks. Another co-worker opined that now the juveniles would follow the parents on the hunt, to learn the tricks of the trade. Chicks #1 and 2 should be okay. But #3 is far behind its sibs, and may not be able to take care of itself once the parents decide to cut them off.
I wish them all luck, because they’ll need it. They’ve had it pretty easy so far, but now they’ll have to compete with a whole generation of hungry juveniles. It’s a gull-eat-gull world.