Friday, June 13, 2008

The Empty Nest

The little ones are gone now and the yard seems empty. There are still many visitors but it’s just not the same. Over the past few weeks, there has been constant activity in our yard as the proud parents prepared to send their children off on their own. It’s hard to believe that in such a short time, we grew accustomed to them being there. I remember seeing them building their nest in the little ceramic house that we put there just for them. It was mother and father working together, getting their home ready. When the eggs hatched, we knew it right away because of the change in activity. Then just a short time ago, we began hearing the babies calling out for food. The parents picked up the pace as the little ones began to grow larger. All day long we heard the constant calling back and forth from one parent to the other as the hunted for food. About a week ago we began seeing their little heads looking out of the tiny entrance to their home.

(photo from internet)

Then last Sunday, it happened. I was out in the yard and some movement around the house caught my eye. Just then I noticed a little bird making his first attempt at flying. He flew only a few feet and landed on the ground. My heart pounded as I worried about his fate with all the cats that we have. My son and I quickly tried to round up the cats but with little luck. The little bird hopped under my boat and I watched as he explored the new world around him. Mom and dad were franticly calling for him to join them but he didn’t listen. (Sound familiar parents?) At one point, the mother joined her little one and tried to coax him to join them in the bushes beside the fence. Finally the little bird hopped up on the boat motor and then tried to fly up on my shed. It was a little too high for him though and he again hit the ground. On the next attempt he was successful and he flew into the bushes and joined his family. The birds began singing like crazy and stayed in that spot for over an hour before leaving.

The next day as I sat there working in my yard, it saddened me not to hear those little birds any more. I thought about how I will feel when the last one of my children leaves the nest and goes off on his own. With Fathers day just around the corner, I am reminded of my own father. It has been a number of years since his death but I still miss him. With all his faults he was still a good father. He built us a home, fed us and took care of us when we needed it.

I remember one time when I got beat up. I was 16 at the time. It was 5 against 1 and some of them were older so I didn’t stand a chance. It was all over something stupid too and I know these guys were only tough because of the odds. When I got home with a huge knot on my head, my father asked what happened. When I told him, he went to the garage and found a nice big baseball bat and told me to get in the truck because we were going looking for them. Dad wasn’t a violent man but seeing one of his children hurt brought him to anger. He said the baseball bat was an “equalizer” and it would make up for the difference in numbers.

We never did find those guys but I did see them in school a few days later. The guy that hit me in the head had bragged to everyone about giving me a black eye but the truth is he missed and hit me too high and there was no evidence of me being hit at all. Well not on my part anyway. Since he hit my head instead o f my eye, he broke his hand and had to go through the year in a cast. Lots of kids that normally didn’t talk to me approached me and told me that these guys were jerks and that they were glad I was ok. I became more popular and they got picked on. I guess I got the last laugh.

So happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.
Have a wonderful weekend and Fathers Day,


Kerri said...

Beautiful shot of the Wren!
Happy Father's Day! I LOVE this post!!

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I remember that my Dad did something like that once, I came home crying because this boy kicked me in the Dad demanded to know who it was, so I took him to the probably wouldn't fly now, but my Dad kicked the boy in the stomach for me......haha I don't think he did it hard, but the boy was shocked, and left me alone after that.


Wanda said...

Love this story of your back yard family and that little bird trying his new wings ~~ I know what it's like to have the last one leave the nest ~~ and then in a few years recycle back, and then leave again.... finally, they are all on their own..and you do feel a lonliness. But then you watch them soar...and you are thankful.

Love the story of your dad and the "equalizer"....great story Mr. Popular G.
LOL: Wanda

Sian said...

Wrens are one of my favourite birds. And I reckon it is sensible to take an equaliser with you when hunting gangs.

Happy Fathers Day to you :)

USAincognito said...

Nice story! Must be nice to have a father who would "go to bat" for his son like that! ;)

happyone said...

I too miss the birds that were in my yard. It's amazing to watch the whole process from nest building to when the babies fly off.

Great story about the bullies.

Sandy said...

Such a great post to read. Had to laugh at the guy breaking his hand, serves him right!

happy fathers' day to you Greg.


Celticspirit said...

We got three baby birds in a nest in the overhang over the front door. I saw them yesterday as I opened the front door and Mama bird was about to feed them and they had their mouths wide opened. Mama flies off everytime we open the door.

Sa said...

Hi Greg

I saw your comment on PODs blog. Hi I am his daughter and sian's matey! The programme that dancer was on was "so you think you can dance"

Hope that ends the mystery

Love the blog BTW

Janice Thomson said...

I watched the same thing with a nest of towhees - they make such beautiful sounds but now they are gone and like you said it is so quiet.
Got a chuckle out of your 'equalizer' story :)

Lori said...

Awwww, Happy Father's day to you. I always enjoy your stories Greg.


Vanessa said...

Hello There~

Just want to say HELLO! I have not been posting much recently, but I'm working on that. :-) Please stop in if you get a chance.

I have my own bird story with wrens just like the one pictured here. It was not a happy ending.


Angie said...

I could see that little bird as you were telling the story. Also loved the justice of that story about the bullies.

Macromoments said...

I'll swap birds with you, Greg.
Yours is so cute. Ours are baby scrub jays. They are too squawky. And now that they've grown long tailfeathers, I've seen them fly and fend for themselves...until their parents show up with food. Then they turn into whiny babies and act helpless.

I hope they launch soon. Ok if I send them your address?

somebody said...