I put up a nest box near my patio this year and a pair of Carolina Chickadees settled in. I was delighted to find six hatched young when I checked the box on May 3rd after being away for a week at the New River Birding and Nature festival in West Virginia.
I was lucky enough to be home sixteen days later when they each took their first flight. This was a surprise. No fluttering stops and starts on the wing. After a brief hesitation at the box opening, they just one-by-one took flight, zipping up to an oak's mid-canopy to waiting parents who rewarded with snacks.
Landing, on the other hand, was a different matter. One fledgling grabbed a thatch of twigs for his landing and ended up upside down. He looked down and around, as if to say, oops Mom, what now?
Sketch: watercolor, ink and gouache on 9x6 pastel tonal paper.