Monday, May 24, 2010

sadness...

As you know, we've been watching baby birds at our door since early spring.

At first, I didn't want the nest there, on my custom-made wreath. But once the house finches had settled in, they won my heart. The mama bird was so attentive to her nest and, once the first brood had hatched, to her babies. The papa bird came an fed them too. They were good parents. And then the wreath was blown off the door during a strong wind. I had hopes that because the birds had fledged, they would survive. My hopes were confirmed when I saw a male bird with 5 juvenile birds around our bird feeder. They always came in a group, chattering away. The male would throw seed off the feeder, then go down to the ground and feed the birds, teaching them how to open the seeds. I felt confident that this was my little brood.

Meanwhile, the mama had repaired the nest and began laying again. She laid 4 eggs and began sitting on them a little over 2 weeks ago. I had been worried because they hadn't hatched yet. We'd had my LifeGroup over for a picnic last Saturday and the kids, despite the many warnings and reminders, kept using the front door. (seriously, I would lock it; they'd come in from another door, then unlock it and go out the front!) I thought perhaps the eggs might have been addled from all the action on the door.

I kept a vigilant watch on the nest and was BLESSED on Friday morning to see the first hatch! There it was, ugly, naked, pink, with 3 eggs around it. A second egg hatched later that afternoon. It appeared that a 3rd was going to hatch soon as well, because the egg had a pinpoint poked out of it, from the inside. Come Saturday morning, there were 4 babies in the nest! Oh, I was so excited and happy to see a second brood in the nest. It had seemed so abrupt the last time!

Yesterday morning, I heard a ruckus at the door. I figured the mama and papa were just re-arranging. Ah...man, I should have checked to see what was happening, but I was on my way out to church.

When I got home, I noticed the mama wasn't on the nest...and the wreath seemed a bit askew. I went inside, opened the door and climbed on my step stool.

The nest was EMPTY. Gone. The babies were all gone. No trace of them at all. No where. It still brings tears to my eyes 24 hours later. Why? What did this? I've had speculations from friends...a cat, a raccoon, snake...but I just don't see any of that. The wreath sits about 6 feet high, or more. I just don't see a cat or 'coon getting to it. Snake? I don't even want to think about it!

My guess is that another bird, a bird of prey, got them. I'm guessing maybe even the mama bird, though I haven't seen a trace of any feathers. I'm hoping not...and that she'll come back and try once more.

I feel...I don't know...hurt...ripped off...this is TWICE now.

I leave you with a few photos of the babies I had but for a day....
First baby hatched...



then there were 2....


When they heard the 'click' of the camera they automatically pulled their heads up to be fed...


mama...mama....



the 4 nestlings all bunched together.


It had been my intention to snap a picture every day to show their progress...

I'm heartbroken.

2 comments:

Lori F. said...

I totally understand your sadness. We had a nest of bluebirds in our deck bluebird box one time and a raccoon got into it and destroyed the nest with the babies still in it. The mother wouldn't come back and feed them so I started chopping up mealworms (ewwww!) and feeding the healthiest one with a small plastic spoon. However, we had planned a trip for that weekend and I was forced to give up my fostering duties. The baby didn't survive. Over the years, I am happy to report, we have watched dozens of nests of bluebirds hatch and fledge successfully. Brian is a real Eastern Bluebird enthusiast. Nature can be cruel but the circle of life will continue.

Bob-kat said...

Nature can be very brutal sometimes but the fact it is 'natural' doesn't make it any les supsetting. I suspect a bird of the raptor family as well, probably with their own young to feed. It is small consolation, but I expect the mother bird fled once it became obvious she had lost. On the whole animals preserve themselves with a view that they cna lay more eggs whereas babies without a mother will dies anyway.I hope they come back!