Today I read a blog by Dale Bledsoe about a bird that got trapped in his office. It reminded me of an incident that happened a few years ago when my children were small.
An American Robin made a nest in one of my hanging flower pots right outside my kitchen window, where she laid her tiny blue eggs. We watched daily, waiting for the eggs to hatch. One day the mother bird started flying back and forth repeatedly to her little nest, followed by at least three other curious birds who flew to the nest and peaked inside. With all the fluttering commotion, we waited until it was quiet and then went out to check the nest. As we expected, there were four or five wet little babies lifting their heavy heads. I felt a connection to this mother bird, watching her joyful excitement, as she seemingly announced to the world that her precious babies had hatched.
Each morning, as my children sat in their booster chairs eating oatmeal or porridge, we could hear the baby birds calling for their breakfast. Shortly after, the mother would fly in with a meal and then all was quiet again.
When the baby birds were about a week old, the sky darkened in the middle of the day as a fierce storm broke loose over our home. The powerful wind tore down half of our wooden privacy fence as we snuggled with up with a big fuzzy blanket on the couch, until we thought of the birds. The hanging flower pot was under the shelter of the porch roof, but the wind was swinging it so violently that we debated about whether or not to bring the flower pot in the house. We worried that if we moved the flower pot it would stress the mother bird when she returned and found it missing. However, it would be worse if she returned and found it had crashed to the ground and the babies threatened or killed.
We decided to put the flower pot in the bathtub until the storm let up. The baby birds were silent as we carried them inside to temporarily relocate their home. As we set them down and pushed the flowers apart to look inside, concerned because there was still no sound or movement, we were delighted to see the mother bird sitting on her nest with her wings spread out over her little ones, protecting them with everything she had. She instictively knew that I was not a threat, that I was on her side, one mother to another. She sat silently and perfectly still for at least an hour before we carried them outside and hung their home in its original spot, safe and sound.
"I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground" (President Lincoln's reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest). President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)