Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Four Stressful Baby Birds

See this nest?

Two mornings ago it was overflowing with four baby robins.  Two evenings ago they all bounded down and hopped away.  We watched the process from egg to fledgling.  It was fun, exciting and overwhelmingly stressful.  I hope I don't have to do that again.  Just kidding.  Kinda.

The fun part was watching the mama build the nest and then incubate the eggs.  Once hatched, mama and dad both fed the babies.  It was a full time job.  For two weeks they took turns hunting for worms and insects and taking them to the nest to feed the incredibly hungry and fast-growing babies.  

How did this turn stressful?  Those babies stayed in the nest for two weeks, then it was time to leave.  They would precariously sit on the side of the nest.  Mama bird would sit on the roof and call to them.  But the little guys wouldn't budge.  It took two days before all four were finally on the ground.  

See this concrete gutter splash block? 

Last week I covered it with a blanket.  I couldn't stand the thought of one of the little guys falling out and hitting it.  God designed them for the fall, but not to hit concrete.  It was driving me crazy.  I was checking and counting them constantly.  Were they all still there?

Finally, last Sunday, they were gone.  All four had successfully hopped from the nest, onto the ground and away from the house.  We were able to watch the last one make his exit.  End of story?  No.  Unfortunately not.

That saying, "ignorance is bliss" would have been welcome.  But baby birds just out of the nest can't fly.  They hop.  Mama and dad keep a close eye on the little ones, but they just aren't a match for some things, like the neighbor's dog.  One little guy only made it a few feet into the neighbor's yard.  I'll leave it at that.

Two babies were behind the church next door with mama bird.  She was keeping close tabs on them.  It's a big grassy area that backs up to the woods and a park.  It made my heart happy to see them over there.  That's a good spot to work on learning to fly.  

The fourth baby is a mystery.  We never found him.  I like to imagine him safely tucked away in some bush, practicing his landings and eating a steady diet of insects.  I just sleep better that way.

The robin family in our yard is a good reminder to me that my time of teaching and guiding my girls is short.  During the long, hard months in the beginning, time feels anything but short, but it is.  I would do well to remember to use my time wisely, pour my whole self into this job God has given me and be diligent to provide for them each day those things that will help them become the young ladies God has designed them to be.  

One day, He will lead them from my nest.  One day they will hop around and find their wings.  One day very soon.  I don't want to look back on their time in our home with regret.  I want to look back and know that I did my best, I worked my hardest, and prepared them as best I could.  Just like the robins.  

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