Jerry Pied Butcherbird sleeps over?
Our pied butcherbirds Freddy and Terry had a baby (Jerry) this season. He's a few months old now, but three days ago he disappeared. For such a young bird, the first concern when that happens is: has something bad happened to Jerry?
So soon after our beautiful Maggie's passing, we were naturally very worried and sad that Jerry had vanished. But today, three days after he vanished, there he was with mum and dad on the washing line in the back yard. So where was he?
When the babies get a bit older, they often vanish for a few days when they are scouting out a suitable position for themselves, but they return to mum and dad, and often do this many times before finally moving. But Jerry is so young (the family having had this year's baby very late) that we didn't think this was the answer, and that worried us even more.
But now he has returned, we think we know what has happened. Years ago, when Maggie's foster parents Fatty and Molly were alive, they would often suddenly "aquire" an extra bub for a few days, and Molly would feed the extra bub just like one of her own. Now if they were human, we would have no hesitation saying what was happening: the kid was sleeping over at a friend's house! And that is precisely what we think was happening with Molly magpie - she was letting her kids' friend stay over for a few days. So even though we can't be certain that Jerry was doing something similar, we feel pretty sure that this is what happened. Somewhere nearby is another butcherbird family with one or two kids, and Jerry wanted to play with someone his own age for a while.