At 5:30am on Sunday, July 7, 2013 I began to cry and mourn for the loss of a baby bird about 2-3 weeks old. We have a hanging planter along our front walk way. In May 2012, a Mourning Dove laid 2 eggs in the basket and brought the babies to full term. One day without fanfare, the little ones, unnoticed by hubby and I, simply left the nest. When we would water our garden we had a great time greeting mama and babies. Mama would hunker down and be so still she looked like a clay pigeon decoration; yet didn’t seem to fear our presence.
Imagine our surprise and delight when this year in the same basket another nest appeared with 2 little eggs. This mama bird was a nervous mom and with any hint of humans in the area she would dart from the nest. Her intention to draw interest away from her eggs or young; of course her fleeing the nest had the complete opposite effect. Whenever visitors came to our door, seeing the flight of the mama bird and the planter swinging erratically, they would investigate. One evening as the gals in my Bible study group left our home, “Mama” became so anxious she flew in the wrong direction; flying into the wall of my entry way 2 or 3 times before heading out into the open air. I feared she had gotten injured or at the very least had a wamping headache. I prayed and watched for hours; no Mama. I finally gave up, went to bed hoping and praying Mama would return to her nest come morning; my fears relieved-she returned!
I worried and fretted as Mama would leave her nest unattended for hours. Sometimes I would see her in the yard observing. Why are you not on the nest, I wondered. I found myself constantly going to the window to check on Mama’s whereabouts. I became fearful the eggs would not hatch and then fearful the little ones would not survive. A dear friend enlightened me. Birds will not continually sit on their nest when the weather hits triple digit heat. Whew! My fear barometer went down several notches at this good news. It was currently 118 degrees in my home town.
The fledglings were about a week and a half old when I realized one had gone missing. I could not find him anywhere; not in the nest and not on the ground. What could have happened? The remaining little guy grew stronger and did well until a few days ago. A friend came to visit. Getting ready to leave she said, “You have a baby bird.” “Oh, yes we do right up there in the planter.” No, she says, “He’s walking right here”. What do my eyes see; our little baby bird walking on the sidewalk. I call to hubby and say, “Oh, come quick “Baby Bird” is preparing to leave us!” Silly me, apparently Baby Bird fell from the nest. I suspect nervous Mama jettisoned from her nest upon the arrival of our human visitor and in her haste prematurely knocked Baby Bird right out of the nest.
He did not appear to be hurt. Yet we could tell he was not ready to fly. I began the vigilant watch out the window once again. Hovering with fear fretful disaster might befall my Baby Bird. Hours passed – Mama was nowhere to be found. What was I going to do? I remembered the verse from the book of Matthew “…And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Matthew 10:29. Okay God, this one is yours. Hubby is right! I must let this go or an ulcer will be my reward. Finally, I saw “Mama” come and feed Baby Bird on the ground. All was right in my world.
For the last couple of days Baby bird would walk around our front courtyard. When it was time for feeding he and mama had a special spot, between two bushes, where Mama fed Baby Bird. She did not come as often as she once did. Becoming slightly neurotic in my fear I kept watch hoping and praying Mama would not abandon Baby Bird before he was able to fly or survive on his own.
I awoke this morning with the immediate thought, “Do baby birds know how to fly from the ground for their first solo flight”? Does Mama know how to teach her little one to fly from the ground? Oh, Lord I sure hope so. Sadly, my concerns quickly changed to tears. When I checked on Baby Bird this am I discovered he had died. Totally caught off guard at the depth of my sadness for Baby Bird, I mourned and cried as if I had been the one to sit on the nest and hatch the eggs. I also discovered the fate of “Baby Bird’s” missing companion. When we removed the now empty nest we found the other fledgling embedded in the bottom. My brother-in-law would have called this the way of nature. In this moment I hated the way of nature.
To be completely transparent, I was even a wee bit miffed with God. How could He let this happen? Had I not prayed for God to watch over Baby Bird? Does His Word not say He will take care of the birds? Then a thought, “What does God’s Word say?” It says a bird shall not fall apart from the Father. God was well aware of “Baby Bird’s” plight. We are not guaranteed outcomes. We are promised God’s presence in the moment!
Today my heart breaks for Mama as she has been back to feed Baby Bird on several occasions. She does not realize he has died. I wonder does her heart break as she calls to Baby Bird and he does not answer. I wonder how many days she will continue to come before she will give up the call.
All my fretting, worry and fear did not change the outcome. When will I learn to trust more and leave the worry to God? It’s a process.
Until next time,
Note: These Mourning Dove pics are last years birds. Mama would never stay for us to get a photo of her and Baby Bird.
“And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matthew 10:29
“…Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” Luke 12:6