Yesterday I walked over to check on the Western Kingbird nest in the roof of the basketball court on the CyFair campus. The chicks were screeching for food as usual but one of them was now moving back and forward along the beam, trying out its wings.
This seemed to make one of the others realize that it, too, had wings.
But I soon realized that there were only three young in and near the nest. Where was the fourth? Had it fallen out of the nest?
I stepped back and checked out every inch of the roof that I could see. No luck. I checked out the grass around the basketball court. Still no fourth bird.
I turned around to leave and found myself literally face to face with the missing bird. He was sitting motionless on a branch no more than four feet away from me.
As I took a photo, one of the adult birds flew to the top of the tree and positively screamed at me. So, not wanting to panic the parent any more, I moved away and went back to class.
Colleagues tell me that another pair of Western Kingbirds has a nest in one of the college parking lots.