Dragon and Daffodil are Great Crested Flycatchers. They met in our backyard and fell in love. I watched them for a number of weeks searching for a place to nest. My husband and I bought a nesting box and within 12 hours that was their home. I photographed weeks of preparation for that nest. Daffodil brought in pinestraw, feathers, snakeskin, and more of each round the clock. Everything seemed set. The nest was ready. We assumed that the eggs had been laid. Then came another bird! I had no idea if she was a male or a female but she kept entering the nesting box and then Dragon would enter the nesting box and then Daffodil would peek her head out. One morning a new nest was built on TOP of the nesting box. The new bird was a female, Daisy, and she had built her own little spot. I watched so sadly as the wind blew her nest off. She so much wanted to be a part of this family! She had not been chosen to be part of this family. These were not her parents or her mates or her eggs inside. There was a lot of turmoil between Daisy and Dragon. Soon we heard the cries of babies inside. I watched as Dragon brought, interestingly, dragonflies, every 11 minutes to feed the babies. THEN I watched as Daisy started bringing in worms and bugs. Each was taking turns feeding the babies. Daffodil emerged and all three of the fed the babies. Apparently this was “unprecedented” in the birding world and not documented. I spent 3-6 hours a day videotaping this family take care of these babies.
Around this time every year my most favorite owl comes to my yard like she has for 4 years now bringing her own babies. Fortunately, soon after the barred owls arrived with THEIR 3 babies, the Great Crested Flycatcher babies had already practiced their flying. The first baby to emerge was Dandelion. Soon after Dandelion, 2 other babies emerged and I could not tell any of them apart. I spent 6 weeks memorizing the spots, movements, and actions of Daffodil, Daisy, and Dragon. Now with Dandelion and the other babies…there were birds everywhere! When the barred owl mama encroached too much on the nesting box, the entire family of Dragons and Dandelions up and moved out. I still hear them in the acre across the street. They have all stopped by a few times and lined the fence and called their distinctive hello call. But, for now, the barred owl family is here. Mama, papa, Chrysanthemum, Johnson, and Willow. I am now watching this family.
Watching Daffodil and Dragon accept Daisy into their family touched my heart to tears on a daily basis. Watching Daisy help feed babies that were not hers touched me to tears on a daily basis. This family put EVERYTHING aside to take care of those babies. All rules in the bird world just flew out the window. This family was not your typical family that society wants all families to be. They made their own and they made it work and it was BEAUTIFUL! Watching Dragon protect his babies and feed them. Watching two females love the babies each like their own. All loving each other. Dragon often sat out to the right of the nest and watched over as Daffodil sat on the nest and Daisy brought food.
Their instincts were profound to me. Their love was profound to me. I will forever be changed because of the 6 weeks I watched and lived amongst these birds. They taught me what love is SUPPOSED to be. They taught me what family is SUPPOSED to be. And it was all about love and protection and devotion.
I started this blog because of my love of nature and mindfulness and wildlife. I started this blog to share my journey of healing through photography and watching nature. My intention is to create a website to sell my photography with all of the proceeds going to the child advocacy center. Every moment in nature fills a tiny hole left from abuse and PTSD that have overwhelmed my life. I have chosen to overwhelm it with nature and it has been the best choice I have ever made.
I hope you stick around for my story and my adventures and my photography! Thank you for reading