Friday, May 13, 2011

Goodbye Baby Birds

We've been enjoying our time out on our deck the past few weeks. The weather has been beautiful, so we've been spending a lot of time out there eating our meals, cooking and just letting the kids play. A few weeks ago we noticed that a small mama bird (I don't know what kind) had built a nest amongst some toys that are in a big metal tub we keep out there. The first time we saw her, she was sitting in the nest on several eggs that she had laid.

We enjoyed watching her come and go from the nest as we played, and we peeked in periodically to see what was going on with the eggs. Then finally, this past weekend we noticed her coming and going much more frequently. We peeked in and saw some very tiny baby birds, just born. Their eyes were still closed, they moved weakly and they had fuzz all over them. There were six (!) little birds in that nest.

So this week as we've sat outside, we've enjoyed checking in on the baby birds and watching the mama bird bring them food. When we peeked over the side of the tub into the nest, the babies, their little eyes still closed, would open their mouths in anticipation of their mother bringing them a juicy bug. In the last day or two they had started cheeping, which the kids enjoyed a lot. We really enjoyed checking on our little baby birds.

Yesterday we got the first real rain in Brenham that we've had since February. A really good storm rolled through and dropped a lot of rain really quickly. We've all been praying for this life-giving rain to feed our yards, our gardens and our livestock (not that I own any, but I know many people who do.) It was a good thing for a lot of people.

After work, I got to go pick up Noble - something that I almost never get to do. When we got home, he wanted to immediately go and look at the baby birds - even before we went into the house. So we did. As I held him up and we peeked over the side of the tub, I was horrified.

The nest had collapsed under the rain. The baby birds were trapped inside the nest and their mother couldn't get to them, I thought. So I used a plastic stick that was in the tub to push back the opening of the nest. inside were the baby birds, dead. Apparently, the rain had come down so fast that the tub filled with water, and even though it has a drain hole at the bottom, it couldn't drain fast enough. The baby birds had drowned. Noble and I looked at them and then at each other.

"They are sleeping?" he said hopefully. No, I told him, they had died. I could have lied to him. I probably should have. But in that moment I couldn't bring myself to do it. Seeing those little baby birds laying there affected me somehow.

Kristi and Kayci came out to see us about that time and we broke the news to them. It was a sad, somber moment. And we grieved for the baby birds and for the mama bird's loss.

So this morning before I go to work, we're going to have a funeral for the baby birds. Kayci asked me to bury them in the back yard next to where our old dog Sami is buried.

Thank God for the rain. We all needed it. And thank you for bringing those baby birds into our lives, even for so brief a time.

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