I watched the babies fly out the day they fledged. At first the brave one tested one wing outside of the nest.
Then it hopped onto a branch and just wobbled a bit.
Finally it took flight for a very short distance as mama bird waited for it to land on the ground. Then it's sibling made the leap. Finally the 2 of them (one egg sadly never hatched) hopped under the protective shelter of a conifer where mama was waiting. They seemed far too young to my inexperienced eyes for them to leave the nest, but it was getting crowded in there as they grew. Of course mama will continue to watch them, guide them, feed them, and care for them until they are much older but all of that will take place away from the nest.
I must admit I'm sad to see them go, but happy they are starting a life of their own. I used to talk to them every day when I went out the back door to water the flowers and they always stared at me with those big beautiful innocent eyes.
(Eggs laid July 6, 2009)
(2 days after hatching - July 22, 2009)
(7 days after hatching - July 27, 2009)
(10 days after hatching - July 30, 2009 - not quite ready to leave the nest, but almost)
And so life goes on.... another miracle has unfolded before me.