For the last three months I’ve been observing a family of birds come to life in my backyard.
About three months ago I noticed two lovebirds building a nest on my back patio. This was the third time I’ve seen this pair of birds or a similar looking pair of birds build a nest in the exact same place.
First, they diligently gathered tiny sticks and carried them one by one through the air to their spot. Many days they did this from 7 AM until sundown.
Next, they were spending every hour of the day sitting in the nest. I guess that meant the eggs were laid. They never sat on the eggs together – only one at a time while the other was out doing whatever birds do during the day.
Soon our worlds began to collide. At first they flew away every time I opened the door and stepped outside. This made for a few weeks of hilarious and terrifying encounters. I would walk out of the door and close it behind me and they would fly out, flapping their wings past the top of my head. Believe me all parties involved were terrified.
Over time they began to trust me. And for the last 30 or 40 days we have become friends. The only time they fly away now is if I move too quickly towards them or get too close. I’ve learned the distance that I have to keep (about six feet) and I respect it. In return they let me observe them.
One day while sitting outside playing guitar the male bird flew in. He landed on the ground about 8 feet away from me and listened to me play the guitar… for an hour.
Near the end of this experience I stood up with the guitar and walked around him to see what he would do. He followed me with his eyes as I got closer and closer until he finally hopped away a few feet letting me know I was too close. Then he continued to listen for another 10 or 15 minutes until I had other things to do.
Just a few days ago I came outside and noticed that the bird nest was on the ground. I worried that a giant, black raven had swept in and eaten everything inside the nest again. I saw this happen in front of my eyes last time and it was horrifying… and a gentle reminder that nature is not kind.
Fortunately – when I looked up to where the nest used to be I saw the mother bird sitting there with two tiny baby birds, hatched, totally exposed and looking back at me. They remained exposed like this for another two days.
Then, one morning I came outside to find that they were gone. My heart sank, and I figured they had either been scared away, eaten by Ravens or had grown old enough to fly away on their own. Either way my heart broke a little.
The following morning I was drinking coffee and heard their familiar bird songs outside my window again. I came outside and looked around and found the mother sitting in a different spot in a rain gutter attached to my room. Next to her was the father bird standing out on the open roof. They were both looking the same direction so I did too.
That’s when I saw them. The two baby birds were hiding beneath a bush directly under their parents gaze. I have no idea how they moved the two tiny, flightless birds to that location. but they did and it was genius. The babies blended into the ground and the bush so well that even the most hard-core raven would never spot them.
So I am happy to say the birds are okay.
And so am I.