First Flight


 

The Family

The baby birds have flown! Recently I posted about a mother bird who had nested in my flower box. In my last post, the baby birds were already full feathered, but still had not flown. I had mentioned how the mother had been cooing at them from the floor and that I thought she was trying to encourage flight.

Well, after that they started walking around the flower box and eventually jumping from one box to another while they flapped their wings.  Last Monday (05/14/2012) night I noticed the birds were all alone. It seemed strange that the mother wasn’t there. I was actually concerned. She always left in the early morning. Never at night.

Practice

The next day she was nowhere… That night they were still alone. I wondered if something had happened to the Mother Bird, but my instinct told me not to worry. And of course, she appeared on Wednesday afternoon. My 4-year-old rushed over to inform me that the mother bird was back. She was cooing at them again.  They stood near the railing and swoosh… the bigger pigeon flew away. It wasn’t long before the other one followed.

And with that they were gone. The next day one of them came back and lingered for a few minutes. Maybe it was saying “goodbye.” Then it took off and we have not seen our avian roommates since.

My guess is they have gone to start their real bird lives. Maybe their mother flies with them now, teaching them where to get food and find shelter. I wish I could be part of that too, but alas… I cannot fly. Not like the birds do anyway.

The whole process was wonderful; watching the Mother Bird raise her chicks. But I think the most important lesson is about hunger. Our little “tortolita”  (Zenaida aurita) did a very important thing in order to get her babes to fly… She let them go hungry.

Contemplating the plunge

I’ve read about eagles. They starve the baby birds when they are fully feathered and the mother flies around them, waving fresh meat in their faces, just out of reach. The point is to motivate them into taking that awful leap into the air. Must be scary as shit and apparently, only hunger, real hunger, will get you to take that risk. Only hunger can make you fly.

I could’ve fed them when I noticed the mother had gone. I thought about it too, but opted to trust nature instead. And I would’ve ruined it if I had done that. I would’ve killed their instinct and made them lazy. In my attempt to “help” I would’ve “unhelped;” spoiling the baby birds and preventing their flight. Perhaps humans, in their obsessive attempts to “help” everyone, actually end up “unhelping.” By providing everything for our children, our people, we kill their drive, their hunger, for progress. And progress only comes out of necessity. They come hand in hand.

And what is a human with all his needs met? BORED and LAZY.

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