Badminton, Barbecue, and Baby Birds
The other day we were enjoying the fine summer evening with a mix of badminton, barbeque, and the usual family hi-jinx. We have tried to be courteous and considerate of our new neighbor, especially since it appears she is a single mother with four babies. The babies make absolutely no sound. Unheard of. They patiently wait at home while mom is out getting them food. We keep an eye on them for her when we can. Recently, we noticed the babies were about to take that first significant step of independence and leave home. I know–what? Babies leaving home? Sorry, I couldn’t help but build up a gotcha. The mom is a robin who’s built her nest right in the corner of our patio and garage. Silly, silly birdie. Didn’t she know what a noisy lot we were? We have been watching with anticipation as the birds went from hatchlings to fluffy bits.
This particular evening I had a feeling the birds were about to head out. All day long they had been stretching up and airing out their wings and periodically during the day I would check on them. A countdown began. Four babies. Three babies. Two babies. Finally, the one lone baby robin left in the nest. We encouraged it and cajoled it to head out into the unknown. It resisted and began pitifully uttering dismal little chirps–they were much too soft to qualify as cheeps. Some of my family had grown restless waiting for the big moment and wanted to return to the game. I decided I wanted to actually witness the big moment of baby bird first flight and sat down with my book.
“Forget badminton, will ya,” I stubbornly replied to tauntings to rejoin the game.
“Oh, it will be awhile for it goes.”
“Nope, any minute now.”
More stretchings and wavering pips from the corner nest.
“Hey, maybe it is goin–”
“Look! There it goes!”
“That was really cool!”
With a birdie sigh of “Now or nothing” the last baby flapped its wings and zipwinged it to the pine tree at the edge of the yard. With shouts of “Hooray!” we congratulated one another on witnessing the positively, absolutely neat event we had just watched.
Witnessing the resolution and trepidation of a baby robin before it determines, “Yup, this is it” is a moment to always remember. There’s definitely an extended metaphor in here somewhere. Robert Frost–any commentary, sir?
Update: Mom’s back with a second brood. I guess we weren’t such bad neighbors after all. Looks like this batch will be taking off within the next week. The Flight of the Baby Bird II?