Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Discovery

Her muted red breast feathers bristle. Angry and cat-like, she's ready to pounce. Chirping loudly, he dive bombs to protect the nest. I casually chat with the neighbor as territorial war cries erupt around us. We watch the birds, she of the occasional buxom breast and he of the tiny black toupee. She carries a wiggly insect in her mouth. He chirps and warns. The pair flits and flies from tree to wire, to stone wall and back again until we've walked away from the sprawling Rhododendron that grows alongside the house.

Once inside I look through the dining room window, follow a bit of white balloon string up from the ground into a small nest resting on the branches mid bush. I watch and wait. When the mother bird flies in with a worm, three, fuzzy, closed-eyed birds stretch their gangly necks, tiny mouths open and waiting. Their mother drops food into each gaping mouth and proceeds to sit on her babies. She nestles, stands up, sits down again, a bit of fuzz peeking out around her side feathers. She does not look comfortable.

She seems to be looking for something. And waiting, if not patiently. The look in her eye, the one eye that I can see, says that it's five o'clock and that he's due home any time. In a few minutes she perks, stands and flies and her partner enters the nest, perches himself at its edge. He feeds the seemingly starving birds. Again they strain and crane to find the food. Again the food is dropped into their persistent, hungry mouths. Again the father bird flies out. Again the mother bird flies in, sits, waits. Sits and waits.

I show Aidan the birds. Then I show Cole the birds. I watch the birds for the better part of an hour. I watch the flying, the chirping, the feeding, the sitting, the perching, the flying, the feeding. The baby birds require constant care. I watch. And I watch. I feel tired. And exhilarated. All at once I feel tired and exhilarated by what I have seen.

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