I have a momma and four babies that hang around my yard. A couple months ago I nursed one of the babies back to health with a lot of help from you all. Since then they've all been healthy and happy but over the last week or so I've noticed some interesting behavior exhibited by mom. There's been a male that's always been around and has hung out with mom and babies but in the last week mom has been actively chasing him away from the food that I put out. He would get about a bite in and then she goes head down and chases him away. The babies don't pay him any attention but mom wants nothing to do with him being around. I guess she got her wish because he disappeared yesterday and I haven't seen him since. This is very new behavior for her though and I can't figure out what she's so upset about. Also, the babies are fully grown now (I think they're about 4 months old) but still get upset if mom is out of sight. They venture a little ways away from her (maybe 10 - 20 yards) but they stop and start crying if they notice they can't see her anymore. She doesn't hurry back to them like she used to, though. At what age do they become independent? Since I put a little food out for them every morning do you think they'll just stay or will they finally fly away and do their own thing? I figure this is the best place to ask since none of my Google searches are turning up anything.