Finally, we spied two tiny baby birds. Again, we tried not to bother the parents as they took turns bringing food to their babies.
As the days went on, it got easier to see the little beaks rise above the nest as the parent swooped in with a meal. We had several days with very heavy rain and we watched as the parents sat on the nest with their wings slightly spread, protecting their offspring from getting too wet.
The babies got bigger until soon they completely filled the nest, and we knew they wouldn’t be around much longer. Alison and I peered in on them this morning and they were still sitting patiently, awaiting their next meal.
When I looked in again a few hours later though, the nest was empty. I could hear a lot of chirping and followed the sound to the backyard. I could see all four of them; the parents were standing guard as the babies slowly hopped around in the grass. I grabbed my camera and took a quick photo from the kitchen window, and soon they all had moved through the grass and into the wooded area at the end of our property.
I wondered whether they would come back to the nest for the night. I did a little research and I don’t think that will happen. I read that the parents will stay close to the babies until their flight feathers all grow in, and will feed them and watch over them until they are able to fly away on their own.
I’m surprised at how attached I got to this little family. Maybe it’s because my husband and I are almost to the stage of our own empty nest. When each of our daughters was born, I never gave any thought to the fact that someday they would be off on their own. As they grew older, I started becoming aware of how fast time passes. As children grow up, they also grow away. It starts slowly…they begin school, make friends, participate in sports or dance or other activities. They learn to drive, get a part-time job, go the prom, graduate. They go to college and live on their own for a large part of the year. Each little step leads them forward into independence.