Monday, May 12, 2008

Perched on the edge of destruction

Several years ago my husband built a beautiful birdhouse. The walls are constructed in a 'Lincoln Log' fashion and individual cedar shingles adorn the roof. It resembles a miniature doll house, one in which any bird might be proud to nurture it's young.

When we moved to our new home, roughly 4 1/2 yrs. ago, the sturdy handmade bird house was secured to the underside of our second story deck. If one positions themselves carefully against the family room windows they might catch a glance of one, of the many bird families who have inhabited the house over the passing seasons. A few years ago we had a family of Robin's take up residence in a nest just next to the house and witnessed the chicks as they took their first tentative flights off the deck. By furnishing the birds a place to raise their young, they, in turn, provide our family with a perspective on our own struggle to raise strong, independent, individuals. Ones who grow wings strong enough to carry them through their first tremulous flight and eventually through high winds. Much like the wind that buffets my windows at this very moment.

This all leads me to a call I received from our next door neighbor last week. She informed me that our birdhouse was hanging askew and appeared might fall. I made a mental note to let my husband and daughter know about it that evening. I had assumed one of the hooks had just worked it's way out of the eye bolt attached to the deck. Later my daughter informed me it was much more precarious than I had presumed. It seems the seasons had taken it's toll on the little birdhouse my husband built. The main support across the roof had come loose and the house was dangling from the 3" or so of beam still attached to the front of the house. Worse yet, there currently resided a family of chickadees whose babies we surmised, weren't near enough prepared to leave the nest. Add to it the added fear that any disturbance of the nest by humans, might result in the parents never coming back to care for their young. We decided to leave the house alone and hope for the best.

Then the wind kicked up! Last evening the winds began to roar and the skies threatened to pour. While on our way home from our Mother's Day festivities, thoughts turned to the little house barely suspended below our deck. We knew there was no way of insuring the safety of the little lives it clutched so tenuously. Upon inspection my husband and daughter decided human intervention was imperative. The quickly devised a shelf, attached it to the deck just below the base of the birdhouse. Upon doing so, the mother fled. Once the house was secured the worrying began as to whether or not the mother bird would return to her young. Nature is a fickle mistress. Fight or flight is ingrained in all creatures. What makes one animal willing to give its life for its young, while another will merely abandoned her brood and start over again? We just had to wait and see which was the stronger of the instincts in this little creature.

I'm happy to report this morning we saw the male chickadee perched on our deck rail. He glanced our way as my daughter and I sat eating our breakfast, just behind the sliding glass door. In an instant he flew down below the deck and into the dilapidated birdhouse, perched safely on its wooden base. I'm guessing the mother was nestled inside keeping her young safe from the wind, rain and cold.

Once we're certain the Chickadees are matured and have moved on, we'll remove the birdhouse. Perhaps a new one will be made to replace it. I hope so, not only for the sake of future hatchlings but because it's a hobby my daughter and my husband enjoy taking part in together. Time spent that makes me think about the fragile wings of a baby bird growing stronger every day as the parents keep it warm, provide nourishment and give it time to grow.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Stacie said...

So glad the babies weathered the storm. they're pretty resiliant like that, but sometimes it does take a little intervention doesn't it?
Wonderful post!
Stacie

9:35 AM, May 13, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

As of today, the entire family seems to be doing Great! Thanks Stacie.
:-)

10:58 AM, May 13, 2008  

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