This story involves my favorite season, two families, the cycle of life, and a tragedy.
Spring is my favorite time of year. Growth happens, the sun gets warmer, the days get longer, and baseball starts. It’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonders of Mother Nature.
Because of a high number of trees and shrubs at our house, we are lucky to have many birds sign their songs all day long. Cardinals, robins, blue jays and swallows decorate our yard. In our little pond, one of the first signs of spring we get are the frogs sounding their mating call as evening breaks, and bats gliding around. Garter snakes frequently surprise us as we make our rounds.
With all these birds, we have a number of nests and eggs that hatch each spring. This is a great treat for the boys to see, and so much fun watching the parent birds catching worms and taking them to their nests.
This spring, we had a momma robin build a nest just above eye level for our youngsters. We got to see the birds right after they hatched, and then watch them grow for about two weeks…until the “accident”.
Jen predicted our dogs would eat the birds. It wouldn’t be the first time the food chain played itself out with our dogs being involved. Many a rabbit has met their demise at the paws of our “vicious” hunters. Two weeks had gone by, and I was hoping the baby birds would learn to fly and avoid capture to prove Jen wrong.
On a bright sunny spring day, the dogs and the Siliko boys were in the backyard with our friend Bob Beckett and his dog. Ryan wanted to see the nest and the birds, which has quadrupled in size from their hatch. We went back to take a look.
As we were looking at the nest, Lucy came close to the nest (Woody was digging through a woodpile searching for something else). She was not eyeing the birds, but rather chasing a snake. Then the accident played itself out.
Lucy’s presence spooked the three baby birds in the nest. They tried to fly out for their maiden flight. I am not sure if one of the birds smacked into a sibling or hit a branch, but it fluttered to the ground just four feet from the nest. Lucy heard the commotion and quickly pounced on the baby bird. The momma and papa bird were squawking and flying around our heads, so I moved Ryan and Sawyer to safety so the parents were not tempted to peck their eyes out. I then tried to get Lucy away from the baby bird, which I did.
Unfortunately, the damage was done. The baby bird was severely injured and died moments later. Ryan saw this and said, “it’s not moving daddy, what’s wrong?”
I told him the truth. I told him it was an accident and sometimes this happens. Ryan’s next two comments got my heart pounding and my eyes brimming with tears.
With a quivering lip and watery eyes, Ryan looked at me and said, “The mama is going to be really sad daddy.”
I told him he was right, any parent would be sad about this happening to their child. What he said next was incredibly sweet.
“The other baby birds need a friend, I am going to be their friend.”
This little guy amazes me every day. Bob made the comment “In a way, this was a good thing for Ryan to learn, and you learned that he is a very caring child.”
Couldn’t agree more Bob, my good friend. So this was the lesson we got from the birds. The lesson for the birds was…don’t try your first flight unless you need to.
I would love to hear your child and nature stories. Take care.
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