Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fledgling at the Window


There’s a fledgling bird outside the window right now.
I’ve been watching it, tenuously, for about an hour. At first the poor wizened, goblin-like thing was perched in the topmost branches of my winterberry bushes. Then, somehow, it managed to fling itself a few feet forward to the empty nest box. Its face still only has little pin feathers in a fuzzy pattern around its eyes, and its legs are not yet developed enough to really hold it. It peaks around, and around, and then seems to sigh.

I’m trying very hard not to take sides in this. I am trying very hard not to become attached. Survival of the fittest and all that. Food web and all that. Nature is doing its thing out there. The mother bird, a large, loud grackle, flew at my head when I went out to quietly try to snap a picture with my camera.

Don’t worry, I thought. I’m not the one you should be looking out for, Mama Grackle. It’s that hungry hawk that’s always darting around out here. And oh, Lordy, tonight keep a look out for those greedy raccoons. They’ve nabbed two full nests of eggs in the last two weeks. First, the mourning dove was attacked and all the eggs she’d been sitting on in the bridal veil spirea were gone. Then, just last night the thief took the eggs which the tiny song sparrow had been warming on her nest outside our dining room.

But I’m not taking sides. I swear. Hawks need to eat. Raccoons need to eat. I get it.

Still, I stand at the kitchen doing dishes, wondering how the bird is and dreading that I might see the hawk descend at any minute.