We’ve had this cute little bird’s nest filled with a momma and daddy, then four eggs, then four baby birds here at the Cape. They built the nest under the deck for protection and on top of a spotlight fixture for stability—or maybe it was the first place they found with a vacancy. Who knows?
Every day David and I check them out; I think they check us out too. We see the parents sit with the kids, run out to get food, cart it back, and we watch the little beaks open up to be fed. The parents fly, but the babies are big feathery fur balls with fluffy wings that don’t do much. Our cat, Bella, watches through the glass slider, in awe. She doesn’t go outside, and the birds don’t come inside; both make noise at each other.
This afternoon when I went to my studio, which is right near the nest, I noticed something was different. The nest was upside down on the ground; the mama and papa birds were squawking and all a flutter. I ended up yelling to David, “Bird Nest Down”—he must have thought I’d been drinking. In the meantime, I’m trying to remember what I learned in Girl Scouts fifty three years ago about fallen bird nests and bird babies on the ground. All I could remember is that we weren’t supposed to touch them with our hands because then they get “human cooties” and the bird mama won’t like the babies any more. Oh my god, that would be so horrible!
We grabbed clean garden gloves, David picked up the nest and placed it in a spot that was more stable and yet still close to the original home. Then he picked up the little fur ball babies and cuddled them together in their nest. The mama and papa bird buzz bombed him and created quite a whirlwind. David was super quiet and very calm; I was inside, bouncing off the walls. He gently kept his gloved hands (no Michael Jackson imagery, please) over the nest to calm them down. Then he walked away, and we watched from the window trying not to distract the birds in any way.
Would the parents return to the newly relocated nest with their babies, or would they take off for Provincetown or Foxwoods? We waited. I kept wanting to feed them; David said food was not the answer. I replied in earnest, “Shit, that’s the only answer I have right now.” We let them be; it almost killed me to do nothing but watch and let nature take its course. Within minutes both parents did fly-bys of the new location but didn’t stop to console or rescue the chicks. A few minutes later, they got closer and closer until they eventually visited the nest and checked in with the traumatized kids. Soon they were ferrying food to the little ones. Three little heads are now popping up, the fourth one is underneath, still cuddling. I don’t know if I can stand so much excitement in one afternoon. There are lessons to be learned here, but I’m too riled up right now to figure out what they are.