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Saturday, June 12, 2010

EASTERN PHOEBE --- LIFE AND DEATH -- Sunday Simplicities

Female Eastern Phoebe Nesting on My Porch

A few hours ago an Eastern Phoebe chick fell to its demise apparently from its nest. It landed on my cement porch. A sad occasion for the parents as well as for me. I had watched the parents from the start -- selecting the site on the top of one of my porch columns -- building the nest- sitting on the eggs to keep them warm, and nourishing them with food once they hatched.

Here is how I discovered what had happened. I heard the Phoebe's urgent distress calls outside my door. I thought some critter was disturbing the nest. When I looked outside the door -- there on the porch was a well developed little bird, not alive. I had been out on the porch about 15 minutes before this disturbance was set off. Apparently, I deduce, it happened right after I went back inside.

For the past three hours the parents have been circling the area constantly crying fee-bee and making a rapid clicking sound. A few times flying to the empty nest, perching on the edge and looking downward into the nest. A nest that was now empty.

I had seen one other baby in the nest -- perhaps he/she fledged and this one just didn't have the wing power when he/she fledged.

The parent's are acting very stressed. And why shouldn't they be. All that love and care they had given their brood.

We are all connected -- no one can tell me differently. Emotions are within all animals. Although, many will disagree, I recognize grief and that is what I saw and heard today.

And as I say these words above, I think of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. In my heart the grief that is emanating from its wildlife is numbing and overwhelming.

11 comments:

  1. Seriously, we may share emotions with all other creatures but we are the only animal on this planet that causes (pardon my language) crap to upset the delicate balance of nature.

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  2. Jayne, It does seem that we as humans (animals) evolved with the vocation of greedy pleasure. Not all humans seem to have been influenced with this trait. Some indigenous tribes seem to have been able to manage quite easily without having greed as a primary activity. Does this mean that in the scheme of evolution some received more compassionate traits and some received more greedy traits? All very elemental thinking I guess. -- barbara

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  3. A sad story. Poor parent birds put so much effort into raising their young and lose so many of their chicks. I certainly feel grief for the pain of animals too.

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  4. barefootheart, This morning the parents spent time trying to rouse the young chick from its deathly slumber by gently pecking it for arousal. I had left the chick up on a stump near the nesting site but out of reach of my dogs.Then within the last hour -- the female began to redo the nest. I am thinking that they are going to try another brood in the same nest? I observe all this as I can look outside from my computer area. The cycle of life goes on. Thanks for your sensitive comments. -- barbara

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  5. I so agree with you, grief is universal and put in the context of the birds and other wildlife being affected by the oil spill, as you say, it is overwhelming. Today's NYTimes Magazine had a long article about cruelty to animals and the increasing awareness by police and social workers of it's tie to abuse and violence in families. That is afield from your post, I know. But so often I find I'm reading things in themes. While many, like you, are sensitive to the animals in their world, I think some of those who are less empathetic may be waking up -- or at least a public awareness may be beginning. I hope so.

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  6. So sad -- but the birds will rebuild and start again.

    I hope that Nature can do the same on the Gulf Coast.

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  7. This photo surprised me when I pulled up your blog. Our move to Gradyville, KY in March brought us a little house with a similar porch and columns.
    A phoebe attempted to start a nest atop one of the columns and promptly fell down inside. Husband brought a ladder and a large jack. He raised the porch roof up until the bird could fly out. We think the same bird moved around the corner and built on the kitchen window shutter.
    I didn't really want bird poop sliding down the window, but she'd already been displaced once, so there she is with a brood ready to fledge.

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  8. June, Vicki, and Morning Minion, So apprecaite your kind words. Morning Minion - your story of saving the Phoebe when it fell down your porch column was so sensitive. You certainly are humane to animals! All of the comments sent regarding animals tells me that so many folks care what happens to the wild critters.

    Right now I have a house full of company from Utah and have put myself on hold as far as putting on any posts. Another 10 days and I should be back writing on Folkways Notebook. Will have lots of catch-up reading to do on everyones posts. --- barbara

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  9. This is a sad story, the poor little bird. I have witnessed grief in animals. I have also witnessed humour, calculation, intuition, empathy - a whole range of interactions in animals. I agree, we are all very much connected to other living creatures, but the human has to be open to this possibility to see it. In relation to your comment above, I do hope you have a wonderful time with your visitors.

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  10. Sad about the baby bird. The nurturing of the Phoebe is one of the things that make it one of my favorite birds. How lucky you are to have them nesting there.

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  11. LiD and NCmountainwoman, My daughter and granddaughter from Utah have returned home, we had a fast paced good time. Now back to my normal activities until July when my other daughter arrives. Thanks to both of you for the sincere comments about the Phoebe. Yes, it is wonderful to have them nesting so close so that I can watch them. I agree with you LiD that animals have humor, calculation, intuition and empathy.

    Today, I am off to check all the blogs on my sidebar to see what everyone has been up to -- always interesting! --- barbara

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