Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Full House . . . Empty Nest

Yesterday the mockingbirds' nest on our front porch was full of life . . . literally! Four tiny, hungry birds had plenty of room at first, but as the baby birds grew, the nest looked awfully crowded. But maybe my definition of crowded was cozy to them. An earlier post shows the newborns waiting - with mouths wide open - to be fed.
The parents were always close by, watching and guarding the nest full of babies. I was often amused as I watched them chase away any bird - from a hummingbird to the crows near the highway - and the squirrels that tried to eat at the feeders hanging nearby on the porch. I was often scolded and threatened as I got near the nest with my camera. They were good parents!

What amazed me most, however, was watching the mama and daddy bird teaching the babies to fly. Over and over, both birds flew from feeder to feeder then to the babies in an attempt to get the little ones to leave the nest. All the while, they "chatted" noisily. When they perched on the feeder hook that you see above, they didn't just rest. Instead, they slowly flapped their wings up and down, and I realized they were showing the babies how to fly. This went on hour after hour. Persistently and consistently they led by example. Teaching by example . . . a pretty wise model for us human parents, don't you think?
Finally, one brave little bird decided to try his wings. It was such fun to watch him try to fly. He mostly ran while flapping his little wings until he made it to the tree, as you can see above. Isn't he a beautiful little creature?

Today, the routine continued, and the parents' persistence paid off. The second sibling (pictured above) left the nest. And then the third, leaving one little fellow alone in the nest.

It seemed he wanted to stay in the comfort of the nest, for at first he looked to be hiding as far down in the nest as possible. But finally, he followed the lead of his insistent parents and his brave siblings, and he, too, spread his wings. I could hear the chatter of parents and young as they flew in nearby trees, and the mama and daddy still got upset with me as I tried to find them among the branches. Still protecting . . . still parenting . . .until the four young birds could make it on their own.

Speaking of hiding in the safe comfort of the nest . . . I know about that! Sometimes God gently encourages me to get out of my comfort zone. I should know by now that He knows best when He asks me to do something new or challenging. I can really identify with the last little one to leave the nest, but I can say for sure that God has never led me anywhere that He was not with me.

I went back to take a look at the empty bird nest . . . where lots of nurturing and growing took place. It had served its God-given purpose well!

Although our nest, John David's and mine, has been empty for about thirteen years now, the scene brings back memories of the days that our sons spread their wings and began a new chapter in their lives. It was not an easy time for me, but that's the way God planned it so very long ago.

We give our children roots . . . then wings to fly!

They leave our care but never our hearts!


Mari said...

What a neat thing to be able to watch. Thanks for sharing the lessons from the nest!

Ginny said...

What amazing pictures you have gotten! The babies are so sharp and clear! And how cute!! I've never seen the wing flapping teaching method, that must have been something to see. Our baby has been gone from the nest for 17 years now. The older I get, the more I wish I'd been a better mom. Isn't it a fact that the older we get, the wiser we become and the more patience we have, but by then the birdies have flown. But grandchikdren are kind of like a chance to do better. Then we go too far in the other direction.

Sharon Lynne said...

Beautiful post...both the pictures and the narrative.

It reminds me of a time that I watched a similar episode. One baby bird watched his siblings fly away, but he would perch at the edge of the nest...and didn't quite have enough courage to make the plunge. One day when I came home from work, he wasn't there. He finally did it!

This was such an enjoyable post! I hope Mama and Papa didn't get too frightened about the camera.

Warren Baldwin said...

Linked here from Karin's blog where I read your comments.

You have a fabulous blog. I don't have as much time as I would like to visit different blogs, but yours is one I would like to return to. The beautiful pictures combined with the music is relaxing.

Do you take most of the pictures you have on here?

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Glenda, there are so many messages in this post. Here's some of the things I thought about:
1. Birds sometimes are better parents than humans. That's not a good thing!
2. When kids are old enough to leave the nest, we need to lovingly let them go. (I have a good friend who cannot function without her adult children. AND--they can't function without Mama's help. That is NOT a good thing.
3. We all love the comfort of our comfortable 'nests'... It's hard sometimes to step out of our nests --and take that challenge.

Love your bird pictures.... I know you enjoyed watching them. SO NEAT!

Kathy said...

You always have the nices analogies. And the pictures are wonderful, too!

Karin said...

Love this post and all the comments! What great life lessons we learn from God's creations!! I'm so glad you took the pictures of this progress from full house to empty nest so we could share in that joy. Beautiful birds!!!