Lessons from the Birds
A few months ago, my 7 year old daughter called to me from her bedroom. I could tell she was excited before I even went in, but when I saw her face I knew it would be good.
"The birds are back, and making another nest!" she shared.
I peered out the window at the spindly tree, where I could see for myself that a native Myna bird was indeed building a nest. The same thing had happened the year before, but the nest had been damaged in storm and the eggs broken. We wondered again why the birds had chosen this type of tree to nest in!
For days we checked in and watched the bird building the nest - flying away and returning with little bits of twig and fluff (this was the source of great fascination - "are they stealing it from people's cushions?" my 7 year old asked) We delighted in watching it take form.
Soon enough, the mama (we presumed) was spending a lot of time in the nest, and one day when we arrived home and did the obligatory peer out the window, we were excited to see three eggs had been laid. Through rain and wind we watched and held our breaths, hoping that the nest and the eggs would survive this time.
And survive they did. The sheer joy that I heard when my daughters spotted babies in the nest was matched only by the chirping of those tiny, hairless creatures. The squawked until their parents returned with worms and other goodness for them to eat. We wondered how these three birds would continue to fit in the nest.
And then the sad thing happened. We arrived home to discover that only two of the birds in the nest. My husband said that he had found one of the birds in the garden below the tree - it hadn't survived. The children were obviously upset, but we talked about how some baby animals don't survive in the wild - their older brother even shared some facts about turtles and their hard battle for survival.
Pleased to still have two strong babies in the nest, we watched as they grew bigger and fluffier, sprouting grey feathers.
And then the big day came. We arrived home from school one afternoon just as one of the birds was learning to fly. It had a few shaky starts and we nervously watched on, but before we knew it, was soaring down the driveway and into a much larger tree (which, to be frank seems like it would have been a much better choice for their nest, but who are we to judge?!)
So, what did we learn?
We learned about nest building, and life cycles, and death, and learning new things, and bravery, and care, and so, so many things. To have all of that taking place right outside your window is pretty special. That's STEM learning right there.
Do I wish I had taken more photos at each stage? Yes - but the position of the nest made it a little tricky, and in fact just enjoying it, being witness to something beautiful and natural was enough.
Want to learn more about birds?
Check out the new book - The Bush Birds
Check out the card set - The Bush Birds Cards