Saturday evening I decided to check up on my lone little bluebird chick - the one whose siblings had all perished, and for whom I'd cleaned out the nestbox. I wanted to reassure myself that the little one was still alive.
When I reached the first green on the golf course, the adult bluebirds were flitting out of the trees and dancing in the air above my head. An unusual display for these birds. Up on the tee were two golfers. I slunk along the edge, hoping the golfers wouldn't hit me with a ball while I headed for the nestbox.
I didn't have to go far, for within moments my attention was grabbed by a rustling motion at the edge of the woods. There on the ground was the little bluebird - it had fledged early (I was afraid it might). It fluttered along and hid next to a stump. This explained the agitated actions of the adults - they were trying to protect Junior from me and the dog!
Since the baby had left the nest, there was nothing I could do. Once they fledge, even if it is before they can actually fly, they cannot be returned to the box - they will just jump out again. So, it was on its own, with its parents to look out for it. Maybe it will survive, or maybe it will be eaten by a fox, or snake, or some other ground-dwelling animal.