By Saturday the bird was more nervous than ever.
It took only opening the front door - the inner door, not even the outer glass screen door - apparently she could hear the sound through the glass - for the bird to bolt the flower pot and take off for the highest branch in our big tree.
We decided to use only the back door but we were too much in the habit of opening the front door to remember until we'd see the bird zipping away to the tree.
One time while she was up in the tree I set up a folding chair on the porch next to the flower pot and stood on it, hoping to get a peek at what was going on in the nest. But even standing on the chair I couldn’t see into the flower pot so I grabbed my camera and reached it up over the pot, positioned it downwards and snapped. Here’s what I got:
I was, in fact, a little worried for the eggs left by themselves . I sat at the front window to watch and see if their mother would come back.
After a while she flew from the big tree in our yard to the small one across from our porch. She hopped from branch to branch, closer and closer, then when she was on the edge of the branch closest to the flower pot she lost her nerve and hopped back to a branch farther away. Then a few moments later she hopped forward again to the edge of closest branch, again lost her nerve, again hopped away. She repeated this advance-retreat several more times.
I knew exactly how the bird felt. I’d felt the same paralyzing fear myself a few times last year when I was hiking the mountains of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain and was faced with having to descend a treacherously steep rocky path or cross a running stream on narrow unsteady stones. (If interested, see “Tighten Your Boots”, www.pattiliszkay.weebly.com ).
Finally the bird found the courage to fly across the branch to the flower pot where she perched for a few moments on the hanger.
Now I was afraid that maybe when I’d hovered over the nest to take my picture I’d left my scent. Maybe the smell of me had driven her away from her eggs for good.
From my window I tried to see where she was, but she must have been too high up in the tree.
That’s when I started talking to that mama bird. Or rather, thinking to her.
See, I remembered that I knew someone whose pet bird had flown out an open window. This person loved their bird and so contacted a - okay, this sounds weird, I know – but the person contacted a pet psychic who was endeavouring to find the bird and then “think” it back home. Or something like that.
I don’t know whether that person’s bird came back, but I figured that since there are people out there who make a living thinking to animals – maybe it’s related to praying, who knows? - maybe there’s something to it. Or not. What harm would it do?
Anyway, in my mind I asked the mother bird to come back to her nest. I told her that no one would hurt her here, that we cared about her and her eggs, that I was a mother, too, and knew how much she cared about her babies. I told her that I understood her fear and I told her how I’d once been so afraid to cross a stream that somebody had to come over and grab my arm and drag me across (see “Tighten Your Boots” October 24, 2013 post).
I sat thinking the bird back to her nest, which I did more because it felt good to do than because I believed it would work, though after a few minutes she did return to the tree close to the porch, did her advance-and-retreat a few times then finally flew to flower pot and hopped back into her nest. For which I sent out a thought of gratitude.
Maybe it’s crazy that I’d get so involved with a little mama bird and her eggs; though when I think of the lengths I’ve gone through for all the stray animals my children have brought home over the years –including the rabbits that used to live in our family room - it’s probably not too surprising.
On the other hand, it says in Luke, 12:6-7:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? And yet the Father watches over every one of them.”
So I figure at least I’m in good company.