My sweet hubby wanted to take one more "from the nest" picture of the little guys before they flew the coop. Or nest, or...oh, you know what I mean. He headed outside with the camera and noticed one of the braver ones perched on the side of the nest. Thinking it was just stretching its wings (did you see how crowded it was in there?), he crept closer.
And yes, those are my dryer sheets hanging out of the bottom of the nest.
Suddenly, the baby bird took the plunge and jumped out of the nest to the grass beneath. My husband had the horrible thought that he was the one who caused the baby to prematurely jump from the protection of the nest, so he started chasing it to put it back. By this time another of the babies was not about to be left out of the action, so he flopped out of the nest, too. My husband was frantic. He imagined all the horrible things that could happen to these little ones and was desperate to get them back to safety.
After attempting to put them back in the nest (and having them subsequently jump right back out), he came in the house looking very dejected. He thought it was his fault. He had caused them to leave the protection of their parents. Wanting to make him feel better, I jumped on the 'net to see if I could find anything about Robin fledgelings.
What I discovered made us both feel a little better. Baby Robins leave the nest before they can fly. Several days before. They get out of the nest to explore their surroundings, still being fed by both parents. This gets them used to their territory, meeting other robins and finding out the best places to hide in case of a cat, hawk, or strange man trying to throw a towel over them.
After I found that out, we were still anxious for them, but knew that it was nature's way of teaching them life's lessons. The parents still fed them and every once in a while we'd see some rebellious behavior when one of the babies didn't want to go where Mom or Dad wanted them to follow. Hopefully they won't learn the hard way that sticking close to them will keep them much safer than on their own.
How easy it is to compare these little birds to ourselves. How often do we leave the protection of our Father's "nest," trying to explore on our terms the world and its answers? We have to do it our way, not remembering that He is our provision, protection, our very life. Hmmm...something to, as my friend Donna said yesterday, "have a think on it."