Babies in the Backyard
Our backyard has turned into a menagerie. Spring has sprung and then-some around here! Greg has made a sanctuary for the squirrels, bunnies, hummingbirds and assorted songbirds that come around for the food he puts out for everyone everyday. It’s truly wonderful to sit outside and be entertained by the wildlife! They have become our friends, and they are a real reminder of how precious, and robust, life really is. A few weeks ago we were having a balmy evening and I was reading in the bedroom with the sliding glass door open. Brian, my almost-16 year old, came in to give me some of his news of the day when he heard a spash in the pool. I figured it was just the ducks, a mallard couple who comes around to take a dip every now and again, and let it go. But Brian was curious and went outside to investigate. Thank goodness he did! In the pool he found a baby bunny trying desperately to swim. He sprang into action, grabbed the pool scoop, and scooped that little guy up to safety. My hero! I brought out a towel and wrapped this sweet little thing up. He was shivvering, and scared. I stroked him and tried to reassure him as best as I could. He could fit in the palm of my hand he was so tiny! Once he was dry and calm we let him loose again in the yard, far away from the swimming pool! We often see the whole family, mom and dad, and two little babies, munching on grass and frolicking on the lawn. It’s amazing to watch the little ones grow, and I get nervous when they hop inside the pool fence! We also have a squirrel family to keep us company. Greg has named the mama squirrel “Nadia” after Nadia Comaneche because she is such an acrobat. Her husband’s name is Bart, of course! They have two little sons whom Greg has dubbed Fatso and Loco. Fatso runs to Greg’s office door for peanuts, and Loco does flips for no apparent reason other than to entertain himself! And then right outside our bedroom window a mama Mourning Dove has made her nest. According to my dad, Mourning Doves are notoriously bad nest-makers, so they try to find a place that’s convenient. We have a hanging plant in a wicker basket there, so it looks like one big nest, and that’s where she has made her home. This is the third year we’ve seen her there, but this is the first year we’ve seen her with babies. She patiently sat there, day after day, and we peaked in on her to make sure she was okay. Finally we could see little pin feathers under her, and one day we could see a little baby bird face looking back at us. When mama went off to get food at one point, we found two precious little birdies, side by side. We didn’t see much of them after that, mama kept them close, staying right on top of them to keep them warm. But one day, when she was off again, Greg peaked in to see that one of the babies had died. We were so sad. I felt so bad for that little mama who cared so much for her little ones. I don’t know why these things happen, just something about nature, no matter the species. Mama is still there with her one little bird, and he’s growing bigger every day. His feathers are coming out, and he’s almost as big as his mom. He’ll fly out of his safe nest soon, and be on his way. I think of how Freddy just graduated from high school, and how he’s leaving home to go off to college. They grow up so quickly!