Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Baby Birds

I've been watching the baby birds the past couple of days. I'm thrilled that I'm able to do that while sitting in my living room. If I want a closer look I can go up to the window - or even out on the front stoop - but I can happily see them while reclining on the love seat.

And what I observed the other day was the mother (and the father too) bird feeding the babies about every 20 minutes. Even when one of the parents weren't there, the babies often had their beaks open - even while they slept - in the hope that a delectable morsel of worm would drop into their mouth.

When the mother (or father) did appear with some food, the birds all bobbed their heads up and down - trying to be the one who got his beak closest to the food and therefore got fed. I couldn't tell, from my vantage point, if all the babies got fed every time, or only one or two. But I did see that that mother spent her day digging up worms to feed her hungry crew.

I remember when my children were infants - and they wanted to nurse every couple of hours. It was exhausting, and I remember wishing for the day when they would eat at regular meal times. Perhaps Mother Robin is wishing for the day when her babies will be able to dig up their own worms.

The babies are getting bigger now. They are losing their fuzz and have feathers. They have the red breast markings of a grown-up robin. I imagine that soon they will be learning to fly.

My children are getting bigger too - they're testing their own wings - as they skip rocks down at the creek for half an hour before we have to leave for Mass tonight.

I'm glad that it takes human children a lot longer to reach 'flight' than it does for birds. The years I have with my children are precious to me - they've progressed past baby, toddler and even 'little' kid stages. They're big kids now. Pippi is even a tween, I suppose.

Watching the baby birds grow from hatchlings to fledglings is reminding me to appreciate all the stages my own kids go through.

And it's just plain fun to watch the birds in their nest every day.

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