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.