Wednesday, September 01, 2010
What Happened Next
The daddy bird came at his appointed time to take his shift, and to do his morning feeding, only to find the nest empty and his little family gone.
He sat under the hedge for hours, just waiting for them.
I know it's the daddy because the light blue ring around his eye is wider than the mama's.
He was just sitting, waiting, not moving, not even disturbed by me photographing him.
It was incredibly poignant.
Several hours later, as I checked on him again, this time I noticed some little eyes peeping out from behind him. Can you see that little ball of grey down with eyes near daddy's tail feathers? One of the babies survived the attack! Daddy was guarding him.
Hallelujah!! Joy and hope revived.
At least half of this precious little family survived, and somehow that helps.
But what now? The ground is not a safe place for a 2" chunk of fluff. I did some internet research and it said to put the hatchling back into the nest. So with a gloved hand, I lifted him back up. The father bird was very distressed over this and was making a huge ruckus. He was flapping his wings double time and dragging them across the grass. He was in turmoil. That was so hard to watch. I felt like a villain. I'm not sure I did the right thing. I prayed that the father would figure out what I was doing and settle back down.
He did settle, but he stayed in his position on the ground, near the edge of the hedge. He couldn't seem to find the fledgling or the nest. I called the animal control people and asked them what to do, and they told me to watch and wait till the morning. If he still hadn't found the nest by then, then they would pick up the little orphan bird and feed it.
Here the hatchling sits in the nest...on the very, very edge. He's peeking out with his beak under the center leaf. About an hour later he moved in to the center of the nest, and looked very content to be there. Ahh, breathe. It's going to be okay, I tell myself.
A half hour later I checked on him again. Alas, he was GONE. Completely GONE. Not hiding under the leaves, not hiding under the hedge and no daddy bird in sight anywhere. Strangely, that soothed me. If that loyal, protective father was gone, after standing watch all day, then I think he found a way. He wouldn't leave without his baby and somehow he just figured out a way to get his baby to a safer place altogether. In chirping bird words, he told his baby to jump and he did and he flapped and hit the ground and they took off for a better place.
I am hoping that with all my heart.
(And I am exhausted.)