motherhood and the birds

This summer I have watched two different species of birds and their young. As a child I could never understand my mother and grandmothers fascination with birds, now I have the same afflicition. My kids are not quite sure what to do when I drag them out to see the latest in the baby meadowlarks progress towards adulthood. They indulge me while walking away shaking their heads.

The first observation of the season was when we saw a baby Robin laying on the ground. We had some horrible storms this summer with furious winds and hail. Maybe he had been blown out. I asked John to Goggle the question, “Will a momma bird reject her baby if it’s put back in the nest by a human?” With computer always at his side, he goggled. Did you know that birds don’t have a sense of smell, so thus they could not “smell human” on their babies thus causing them to kick the kid back out? The things you learn!! However, the American Robin does continue it’s training of it’s young on the ground! Another amazing fact!!

Sure enough the momma Robin was close by looking at us rather impatiently with food in her mouth.

But she was also concerned about someone that was near by….

After shooing the snake one way and the baby the other, we backed off and watched. Soon the mom brought the food to the baby, who gobbled it up, hopped after her a ways, then mom flew off again. I continued my study like one of those nature guys on tv. Camera in hand. The little one was now taking shade under one of the big pine trees in our field.

Mom was across the street in an open field hunting. Once again, baby and mom communicate, mom arrives to the youngester’s new spot, and brings another tastey morsel. Fascinating.

This newly acquired knowledge was confirmed the next day when on the farthest, opposite end of our property, I found another mom Robin on the fence and after listening, found another baby Robin hiding in the weeds.

On occasion we have had Western Meadowlarks nest in our trees out back near our patio. They will loudly protest as you come near “their” tree. Sometimes they will even dive bomb you to get you to move on. We had a nest this year with three babies.

One was lost to the wind and hail. We watched the other two grow from fuzzy blobs poking out of the nest to little birds sitting on the branches of the tree. Over several days I watched them come and go, learning to fly from “their” tree to another, to the fence post, and back to “their” tree. The whole time, mom and maybe dad were near by, scolding me for getting too close, and bringing them snacks along the way.

I can not lose the analogies to parenting our own children here. As these birds did, we spend our time feeding and caring for our kids and encouraging them to take those next steps of maturity. Yes we do squawk at them now and then when they don’t see the dangers we do. And now and then we have to intervene and ward off those that would like to harm them. Of course it takes years of prep before our kids are ready to move out of the nest. Then the day comes and they are gone. All grown up! Flying away.

For now, they are flying to and from the nest. This provides the weaning process for mom! But for the most part they are out on those fence posts and nearby trees. It makes this nest feel quite empty. There isn’t a crazy boy coming into the house causing lots of noise and yes, laughter anymore. I expect to see him in the drive thru up at Wells Fargo in Brighton, but he’s not there. The presence of my techno color Molly is missed. The constant, yes constant sharing of stories which was part of my life for so long, has now gone quiet. I won’t be able to walk into my local Starbucks anytime soon. She’s not behind the counter anymore wearing her headset and apron.

Yep, the nest is feeling pretty empty.

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About Karen G. Miller

Wife of John G. Miller, author of the QBQ! book. Mother of 7 (plus 4 in-laws) and "Grandma Nonnie" to 7! Beach Body coach! Co-author of "Raising Accountable Kids." Follower of Jesus Christ.
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