Friday, April 20, 2012

The journey of the American Robin

Let me just start this post off by saying, I really don't care for birds. Some might even say I'm a little afraid of them. I've never had any sort of encounter that has left me with a forever fear-scar, I just don't like things flying around my head. And birds can be mean, y'all. I don't trust them at all! So, when we saw the beginnings of a nest forming on our back patio floodlight, I wanted to be rid of it. Ross wasn't too keen on the idea of birds making our back patio their home either. 

So what did he do? He moved the nest. Not once, not even twice, but 3 times. He threw it up on the roof, tried to tear it apart, but that mama robin was seriously determined to have her babies in our backyard. Then one day, we looked in there, ready to toss it again, and saw these:

Even though we're not fans of birds, we aren't completely heartless, so we left it there and decided we would just deal with whatever having bird babies in our backyard meant. 

We honestly weren't sure what that would mean. I envisioned a protective Mama bird dive bombing my children as they played joyfully outside. 

I envisioned chirping baby birds that wouldn't be quiet...ever.

I envisioned our dog (or possibly even cat) eating the poor thing if it ever fell out of the nest, or even when it flew out. 

But, much to our surprise, none of that happened. In fact, it took so long for the eggs to hatch, we thought they were duds. Until one day, I saw this:

The boys and I were outside playing when the mama bird flew over to the nest with food. I saw the little baby birds' heads shoot up with their mouths wide open waiting for that tasty morsel of worm or whatever it was that Mama had brought them. 

And instantly, my heart melted. It was funny, I was thinking about how birds are on my top 5 not-favorite-things-of-all-time, yet I had this instinct to protect them, to scare off other birds who were waiting prey-like for the Mama to fly off and leave her babies vulnerable. 

I was scared to get too close those first few days. I wondered if I got too close, would the Mama abandon them? So, I kept a close distance. 

But as they got bigger, I got more daring. 

The Mama lost one egg and I'm not really sure whatever happened to the second, but I only ever saw 2 babies in there. And it was so sweet, watching how well the Mom and Dad cared for them, protected them, and cleaned up after them. 

It made me think of God, who loves, protects and takes care of us. We are so helpless, so needy and dependent, like these bird babies, and He holds each and every one of us in the palm of His hand. 

10 days after I saw the first little newborn baby bird head pop up, they started standing up and flapping their wings. I knew it was getting close to time for them to fly out of the nest. The boys were playing outside yesterday afternoon and I looked out the window to see Fiona going after something in the yard, while the kids were watching. 

I automatically knew what was happening. I ran outside, ordered Fiona back in, and stooped down to see the first baby bird had flown (probably more like hovered) out and was now needing to learn how to fly. 

It hopped around the yard and found a safe hiding spot. I watched it for awhile and finally came in, but not without snapping a photo of the other bird enjoying some solitude in the nest for some time.

This guy knew it was his turn next. He flapped and flapped, trying to get the courage. Finally, as I walked out the back door later that afternoon, he flew out! 

I felt like a proud Mama! I had grown attached to these silly birds and even though I was a bit sad, I felt pride as this little one had finally grown up. 

Neither of them are in the yard anymore, so I assume they learned how to fly and are off learning how to be grown-up Robins. This experience was a first for me, and it was a neat one. Nature is always a fun thing to watch and be a part of. And to be honest, it made me introspective about my own parenting and how I need to teach my kiddos how to live in the world, just like this Mama robin is going to teach her babies how to live in the bird world. 

Now, off to teach my own little birds how to grow up and fly on their own. It's a tough job, but one worth doing well. 

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1 comment:

  1. So - I know it wasn't the point, but how do you feel about the birds now? :)


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