Saturday, May 2, 2009

Empty Nest Syndrome

The umbrella nest is empty. I've been standing beneath the umbrella off and on all day, talking to the babies as I did my chores. About an hour ago, I looked up to see them perched on the edge of the nest. They were fluffing their feathers. The largest of the three has done this before, but I'd never seen the smaller two on the edge.

They continued to fluff their feathers and I thought I might be making them nervous, so I went inside to make dinner. After dinner, I returned to the umbrella to check on the babies, but they were gone. The table had little piles of bird poop on it, which was odd because I just scrubbed it last night. I think they may have emptied their bodies before they took their first flight.

I checked beneath the table and all around to make sure there was no signs of trauma. Not a single feather. The nest itself is in perfect condition. So, I checked the trees. Sure enough, about twenty feet away, the mother was perched on a branch, staring off into the trees. My husband ran for the binoculars, but by the time he returned, Momma had flown, as well.

It was suddenly very quiet in the backyard. I miss them already. I miss the sound of Momma bird chittering and chattering every time I walked by. I miss watching her dig beneath the tree for worms then flutter up to the nest to deliver breakfast. I even miss worrying about their safety, but most of all, I miss walking past the umbrella and seeing their little beaks poking over the twigs and leaves.

I am glad they've moved on to make a life of their own, though. It's hard saying goodbye to God's blessed little creatures, but they were put on this earth to fly, and this is what they must do. I imagine they feel quite happy now with the air rushing beneath their wings as they move from branch to branch. I wish I could see them, but deep in my heart I know they are safer hiding in the forest. Perhaps some day soon they will return to my backyard to nibble from the seed dish or drink from the pond, but until they are stronger, it is best that they hide beneath the leaves of the massive live oak trees surrounding my home.

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