Empty Nest

We have 6 bird nests in our porch rafters. With an average of 5 eggs per nest, it pleases me that I hold a little responsibility for the birth of about 30 birds. Well, I am providing a place for the nests, as well as plenty of tiny twigs and fluff for the creation of the nests. That sorta counts as responsibility.

I’ve been checking on one nest in particular, which is right outside my office door. My door is usually open and so over the past few weeks, I have watched the Mama bird flying back and forth building her nest, then sitting there patiently waiting for her eggs to hatch. I’ve climbed up a ladder a few times to check on their progress. It’s so amazing to watch.

One day last week, I found one of the babies laying on the ground, right below the nest.  I picked it up, had my husband Google what to do, and then followed Google’s advice by putting it back in the nest. 

A few days later, I noticed a bird’s nest somewhat torn up and discarded about 10 feet from the nest I have been monitoring. In alarm, I looked at where “my” bird’s nest should have been…. but it wasn’t there. I set up my ladder and quietly climbed up to check on things. The nest was gone. Only a few pieces of dead grass remained. Mama was gone too, but all 5 of the babies were huddled in a corner.  But one by one they started to fly away. It was an amazing experience for me, watching them as they tried their new wings.  Several of them flew about 2 feet before plummeting to the ground.  They would then flap their wings a bit and try again. A few took off right away the 2nd time, and a few had to try a few more times before getting the hang of it.

One bird stayed behind. Maybe he was checking out how it was all done before he decided to venture out. 

I climbed down the ladder and just sat on a nearby stool, waiting for him to leave. Within a few minutes he decided it was safe, and he, too, flew away.  He flew to a nearby tree where one expanded wing got stuck on a branch. I wanted so badly to go over and help him out, but I stayed still. Within a minute or so, he had figured it out. He straightened his wings and flew away.

I sorta felt like a proud Mom… having watched the babies grow and then actually getting to watch them leave the nest. 

It made me reflect on my own children, and the time that they left “the nest.” I’ve got to say, this was MUCH easier. 

Kids come back home and visit. And I’ve read that birds will very typically return to the same nesting area, year after year. I’m hoping that one of these birds will come back next year to have babies. I guess I won’t really know, but with the release of at least 30 babies from my front porch, I’ve got to think that at least one of them will make their way back!

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Comments (13)

  1. Glori2

    OHMYGoodness, that would be one experience I would very much enjoy but glad to view it from your side with this special story!! Thank you for sharing…it filled my heart with joy knowing they were ready to fly…new life!! <3

    May 23, 2020 at 8:09 am
    • Karen

      YES! New life!!! And such a treat to be able to watch it take place!

      May 24, 2020 at 6:04 am
  2. Barbara Hewitt

    Loved you story. We had a hawk’s nest near our house one year. We we walked down to it at least once a day and stood there watching. It was fun to see the parents change duties and listen to them call to each other to get over there and take its turn. There were three babies and they yelled a lot to be fed. We watched them flap their wings in the nest, then jump to a nearby branch and back, a few awkward flights to a branch and then they fledged on July 4th. They stayed nearby for awhile. We would see them on rooftops or in trees, as we took our walk. How wonderful to have so many nests to watch!

    May 23, 2020 at 8:26 am
    • Karen

      Oh, Barbara! That must have been incredible to watch!!!

      May 24, 2020 at 6:04 am
  3. Michelle Bradshaw

    What great photos you got! I’m shocked the baby let you hold him.

    May 23, 2020 at 9:54 am
    • Karen

      He couldn’t fly… so he didn’t have a choice, really. 🙁

      May 24, 2020 at 6:03 am
  4. DeLoris Musick

    OMGoodness Karen, what a heart pounding thrill you must have had. I am so glad the nest you took care of were ok! I hope at least one comes back too! Did you get video? Probably no time. This is absolutely amazing! I know when we were little, we would feed baby birds. We did not know it was a bad thing. I don’t remember what happened to them, if they lived, were abandoned or not. But, without guidance, our hearts were in the right place. I hope they lived!

    May 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm
    • Karen

      Right. NO time for a video. I just stood there in awe. Yes, your heart was definitely in the right place.

      May 24, 2020 at 6:00 am
    • Karen

      Right, no time for a video! Ahhhh.. what an experience that must have been, feeding the baby birds!

      May 24, 2020 at 6:02 am
  5. shadowwings4god

    What a sweet experience Karen and can imagine how your heart stopped for a bit upon seeing the nest on the ground. Glad to hear it was a happy event to see the babies fly off and I also hope at least one will return next year to nest! Yep, all I heard in my youth is never pick up a fallen bird as mama might not tend to the baby afterwards and it would be our responsibility to feed and care for it. Such is not the case as I’ve heard or read of many instances where the baby was returned to the nest and all had gone well. Loved the photos! Vicki

    May 24, 2020 at 7:06 am
    • Karen

      Thank you, Vicki! I had always heard the same thing too… about not touching the birds. So glad for Google these days! 🙂

      May 29, 2020 at 6:16 am
  6. Michelle

    Loved your story! You are so lucky to have watched so many baby birds hatch, care for them, and watch them fledge. You are an amazing “bird mom!”

    May 24, 2020 at 7:56 am
    • Karen

      Thanks, Michelle. That’s the word… “fledge.” I couldn’t think of it! Yes, it was an amazing experience!

      May 29, 2020 at 6:15 am
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