It’s Time To Earn Your Wings
Every spring birds settle into nests in order to hatch their eggs. We have a large wooded property and many, many birds make their spring/summer homes here.
Each year there are families of House Wren’s who inhabit nests that their ancestors built on the top ledges of columns on our front porch. They are small birds and require minimal space for their nests. These same nests have remained undisturbed for years. They are quite beautifully built with fine twigs and thick moss nestled around the exposed sides. The nests are lined with a collection of human hair (donated by my sisters who take their hair trimmings and leave them in the front yard for birds to find and use just for this purpose) and downy feathers. It’s really quite something.
Nature is unforgiving and some of the eggs get bumped out of the nest before they hatch. Usually the Wren’s hatch 3 eggs in their little bungalows. After a few weeks of nurturing the newest members of the Wren family are ready (some more than others, lol) to be encouraged to leave the nest by their mother.
The mothers stop bringing scrumptious meals on the fly to the little birds. They will perch in a branch of an oak tree just off the porch near the nests. They sit there and make calls to the little fledglings and the young ones will make calls back in protest hoping for another meal. Eventually the little fellows gather their courage enough to take that leap of faith and flap their wings. They fly away into the new world and the mothers take flight as well. They do what ever it is that birds do and teach their young how to find their own food.
This year one of the fledglings refused to leave the nest. The mother sat just a few feet away and called to the little one all day. The little one called back to her. We listened to this all day thinking this little one wasn’t going to make it. Maybe he was too weak, maybe he was injured or crippled in some way or maybe he was just stubborn. We knew it was not our place to interfere if there was any hope of his joining his family.
As the sun began to set the mother’s calls were silenced but the little one continued to plead. I knew the mother had given up. Not knowing what we would do if he was abandoned and left to die we fetched the ladder and went to the porch. It was obvious he wanted to leave the nest because he was flapping his wings furiously. As we drew closer it was also obvious one of his little legs was caught in the twigs of the nest. We climbed up to the nest and gently loosened his bind. He was terrified of us, of course, but he was also very relieved to be set free. He took flight in the direction of the old oak tree and as he flew past I saw his mother join him in flight. She had not abandoned him at all. She was waiting for some reason.
I wonder what was going through her mind? Did she know the little guy was trapped? Was she waiting there so he wouldn’t be alone when his end came? I must believe she felt as much relief as he did when he flew away. A mother’s love is unconditional regardless of the species.
This was such a sweet, heart-warming experience I had to share it with my friends here and elsewhere. It did bring up so much emotion within me that I admit some tears of joy did flow.
I miss my mother so much.