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Life on the Deckle Edge

On My First Baby's Leaving the Nest

Not long ago I was in the back yard with the dogs.

A brown thrasher squawked and carried on in the branches above me. Why was it moving closer rather than farther away?

Then I saw it - a brown thrasher baby, inside the tennis court fence and inside the half-filled dog water bowl. Now there was a dilemma.

I returned the dogs to the house and came back out with a small towel. Mama Thrasher continued to thrash and scold and threaten. I laid the towel on the ground by the bowl. At first I was worried the baby might be chilled being stuck in the water. But it was a hot summer day, and when my fingers felt the water, I realized it was the opposite case - that water was very warm! Well, I reasoned, bird-temperature water was probably better for the baby, but not for long. I scooped out the barely-feathered body, and the little creature let out a screech - a good sign that it had plenty of fight. I retreated to watch from a distance.

Baby hopped about on the towel, and in no time Mama ushered it through the fence and back into the relative safety of the brush.

Each year we are blessed with some kind of baby bird scenarios - from wrens to robins. This summer, any activity involving birds leaving the nest has especially captured my attention.

As I thought about that hapless, helpless young bird, I thought about my own adventures in motherhood. We just took our firstborn to college. It's hard seeing a young 'un out of the nest. But I will trust, if my baby ends up in hot water away from home, that she'll stay calm. And that someone will come along with a helping hand, and she'll be squawking and flapping again in no time.
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