Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Empty Nest

April began with such sweet signs of Spring popping up everywhere in our yard, but we had no idea how sweet it was about to get! We have always enjoyed watching birds fly into our yard with pieces of this and that to use is building their nests. The sounds of baby birds chirping for their mother is also a treat we have grown to love, but when a small House Finch began building her nest in the rafters of our patio we never expected what was next! After several days of swooping in and out, the nest began to take shape and "Momma Bird", as we affectionately took to calling her began spending more and more time sitting in her nest. It wasn't long before we realized she had laid eggs and was waiting for them to hatch. Braydon and I paid very close attention to Momma Bird's schedule and were able to tell within just a few hours that the babies had indeed hatched.

 At first their sweet sounds were small and almost impossible to hear, but after a couple of days there was no doubt we had a growing family under our roof.

Momma bird was a busy lady, popping in and out feeding them all day long! We did a little research and found out that they need to eat every 15-20 minutes.  Most days (usually later in the evening) Daddy Bird would lend a hand and bring food in for them. He would sit just outside the patio on a branch or power wire and sing the sweetest songs to call for his mate. Momma Bird would go to meet him and return to the nest with the food he had gathered for her. 
Sometimes Momma Bird would have her hands full with the little guys and Daddy Bird would call and call with no response. After a while he would fly in under the patio and the two of them would have what, in our house is called, "a heated discussion". LOL
I honestly don't know what they were doing, but listening to them babble back and forth made for some pretty interesting commentary from various members of our family. 
As we all became aware of Daddy Bird's call and could pick it out above all the other birds in our yard, the moment we would hear him (whether inside the house or not) we would race to see what was taking place. It was neat to watch the baby's little heads pop up when one of their parents was near. Even before they had made it to the nest the babies could somehow sense that they were close. 
One day in particular Daddy Bird a lot of time calling to Momma Bird who had not returned for quite some time. He even took to feeding the baby birds for the remainder of that day. Braydon and I were worried that something might have happened to Momma Bird, but were pleased to see Daddy Bird stepping in to care for them in her absence.

Luckily, Momma Bird returned before night fall! We like to think she needed some "mommy time" and had to take a quiet bird bath in another yard. :)
It wasn't long (just two short weeks) before our baby birds were stretching their legs and spreading their wings on the edge of the nest. We later realized that this was just an after feeding ritual that would always be followed by a poop off the side of the nest. (and sometime onto the back wall as you can see)  Braydon got a real kick out of that! Oh who am I kidding? We all did, it was funny!!

Finally, one Sunday morning it was time! The moment we had never expected to see was here! The babies were ready to take their first flights! It is important to add that the anticipation of this momentous occasion almost made us late for church! We rushed from one activity to the next, stopping off of at the window for an extended look to see if we would get to witness it! 
Daddy Bird sat perched on a nearby branch, steadily talking them through the process! Then he would swoop in and sit on a plant hook to offer more instruction, and prodding I'm sure, then he would fly back out again to wait on the branch. 

Momma Bird flew in with one last feeding for the trip and then it happened... 

The first baby bird of the three stepped to the edge of the nest. He stretched his legs and spread his wings... and you can imagine what I thought was about to follow but luckily this wasn't the case!
Then without a bit of hesitation he swooped down under the awning and out into the yard. 
Daddy Bird met him in midair and off they went!  

I could not believe my eyes!! I had actually watched a baby bird fly for the first time!! 
It was amazing!
As the day went on each one took their turn and by evening they were all gone. Sadly as I sat on my patio that evening expecting them to all come home and discuss the day I began to understand what the "Empty Nest Syndrome" is all about. 
You may laugh at that or at the least think it a strange emotion but let me tell you why it affected me the way it did...
For weeks this had been an obsession for Braydon and myself and suddenly all daily functions had just stopped. No waiting for Daddy Bird to come calling or wondering when Momma Bird might return. It was all just over. This unexpected halt in activity and coupled with the hope of their return made me think of us. Not just my family us, but us as a society, a people, the human race. How often do you rush through your evening lending only one ear to the stories your children have to tell you? How many times do you fall into bed, exhausted from the day's events and doze off before your spouse ever even makes it to bed?
 We take these moments, the hustle and bustle of daily activity for granted and then one day it all just stops! Your children are grown, rushing through their own lives. Your spouse is still interested in all of the the things that you were too busy to share with him or her when you were younger.
And what are you left with? 
An empty nest!
Don't wait until it's too late to enjoy your family! Get involved! Learn to love what they love! Years from now this investment will show a huge return when your children still want you to be a part of their everyday life and your spouse is that best friend you couldn't go a day without talking to!


  1. LOVE this, girl! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Amen! I am really wrestling with this right now. It's time to whittle the list back. That's the main reason we aren't enrolling in the Bible Bee.