Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The empty nest

There is a nest, perched on the outcropping of the bare bulb mounted on the rafter in the barn.
When I found it weeks ago, it looked very much as it does now—unseen eggs waiting inside --the promise of life.
Helpless and bare, they arrived one-by-one, four dependents, the charge of two doting parents.
Almost perceptibly, changing and growing. Hinting at who they were to become.
Soon, four faces peering over the rim. Eager eyes bright, with eager feathered wings.
This quiet, safe place becoming their past; the sky, their future.
The nest sits empty now—a reminder of that promise.
Their lives in the skies, a joy to behold.
Still, a tear.

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Mary said...

A tear from me, too, Nina. I watched 5 barn swallows last summer. One day, I arrived home from work and they had fledged. The front porch was so empty, quiet, and sad.

RuthieJ said...

Sweet little babies! I'm so glad you were able to share in their life this summer (and to share it with the rest of us also).

cestoady said...

It is always a sad day when youngsters leave the nest -- be they little chicks or kids of our own. I am glad they made it -- so that some member of that family can be back again next year to grace your barn.

BTW, anyone collecting nests for school ,or just to put on the mantle, should be aware that many nests harbor great numbers of very tiny blood feeding mites that become very hungry once their dinner table fledges.

Last year I examined a Mourning Dove's nest from a nesting box under the eves of our porch and though I wore gloves and tried to avoid touching the nest as much as possible, I still suffered itching and small welts the next week from the mites on my arms and chest.

Nests near windows or doors can serve as sources of mites that have been known to go indoors in quest of a meal -- us.

Cathy said...

Another beautiful poem. Thanks, Nina.

KGMom said...

I just love little birds faces. So trusting, so hungry.

Q said...

Dear Nina,
Thank you for your poem and your caring heart.
They are beautiful birds and shall return to you next year!
I have enjoyed your posts.

Dorothy said...

Beautiful poem....gives full meaning to the words "empty nest". I hope your nest becomes full again before too long Nina.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Nina, that was so beautifully written! It's a sentiment I share with you. Thanks for sharing the words.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written. Great photos, too.

Kathi said...

So there are your phoebes! How sweet. So glad you were able to watch them and get photos. I never found where my pair nested, but I saw them carrying food and yesterday, I saw a fledged youngster, so I know they were successful. Maybe next year I can find their home.

Cestoady (and others): Be careful about collecting nests. Possession of bird eggs or nests violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918). There may be some exception for educational purposes, but I don't know for sure.


Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful series of phoebe babie pictures! I love the part with the four faces peering over the rim! I can so feel that happening!

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see your pictures of these phoebe babies today. We have had phoebes nesting under the eaves on the side of our cabin for several years, but they came back too early this spring and we lost them during a snowstorm on Easter weekend. I found the pair huddled together on the nest, and when I gently took them down and checked them over, I could tell that they had sucumb to starvation and cold.
I felt so bad that they were right there above my dining room window, and I never even realized they were in trouble. There is a bird feeder right there by the window and it was busier than ever, but that doesn't help our insect eaters!
I miss my cheerful little phoebes and hope more find their way to us in the future. Thanks for sharing yours with us.