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      Nature Report: Orioles Fledge

      The morning seems to begin normally at the Altamira oriole nest in the towering oak, as a parent descends to the opening and feeds the young.

      Only, now the adult does not have to enter the nest to deliver the meal as the young have grown enough to rise to the entrance to receive their food. It has been a couple of months since the orioles began constructing the magnificent hanging basket of woven grass.

      Several weeks were devoted to laying eggs and incubating, and now some 14 days have passed since hatching, and the young are on the verge of fledging. The first little oriole to emerge from the nest begins testing its wings and almost falls out with the effort, but recovers in time to regain its balance. Beneath the fledging is another youngster who peers out from between its nest mates legs, and with this sibling urging the oriole lifts off. It is 7:40 in the morning, and oriole number one has made its maiden flight. It appears there are two more youngsters in the nest vying for the flight deck, and one eventually emerges to survey the world. Five minutes later, at 7:45 am oriole number two takes off. Okay, two down and one to go. Oriole number three quickly appears at the entrance, and at first seems about to fly with no hesitation, but then thinks better of it. A thorough pre-flight inspection ensues as the final youngster prepares to leave the nest. Nine minutes later at 7:54, oriole number three joins its siblings in the nearby trees after a short inaugural flight. A final inspection of the empty nest is made by one of the parents; just to be sure everyone has departed. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore