Sunday, July 09, 2006

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind...

A mini-drama is unfolding 'round these parts. Only mini in that the participants are all pretty small. The actual threads of this particular story are as compelling as anything that concerns us common folk as we make our way through the world: the basic need to survive. A nest of doves somehow managed to find its way to on top of the electric meter at my parents' home. Upon recognition of this interesting turn, I suggested that no one intervene with the nature-meets-modern-civilization dilemma unfolding--just leave 'em alone and maybe everything will be OK.

Being one with a predilection for birds, I took a special interest in what happened next: My aunt and uncle came to visit the parents soon after the discovery. I'd already observed that every time anyone walked near the nest or slammed the back door of the house, the Momma-bird would fly off and watch from a nearby perch to see what happened next. If human hands interfered with the nest or contents, Momma would likely say "fuck this" and simply hit the road (after maybe killing her two surviving chicks or worse), which considering the amount of care had gone into the whole enterprise would've been pretty sad and, even more, some sort of depressing statement on the world today. The best of intentions can so easily lead to the worst unintentions.

So Uncle suggests putting some birdseed in or near the nest. "Don't think you should do that," I doth protest, but I'm young and still apparently somewhat naive in such matters. It was done. More bird seed was deposited in/near the nest a few days later.

A few more days passed, and I noticed randomly that the nest was apparently empty, no sign of the previously observed chicks or Momma-bird. Looked around a bit to find one of the chicks dead in the garden below. Looked a while longer, found another chick sitting still like a little statue on the concrete, huddled up against the house. Talk about heartbreaking. :( So I picked it up--it was definitely still very alive--assembled a little box with help of my Dad's expert engineering guidance and put it, along with a little water and tomato slivers, back where it was before atop the electric meter. As of this morning Momma-bird has returned to the nest. She hasn't given up on her shrinking family. Neither have we.

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