Last summer, we were surprised to find a couple of very odd birds hanging out right by our driveway. Every time somebody would walk by them on the sidewalk, the birds would run away and act as though their wings were broken. After a bit of research, we realized that these birds were called Killdeer, and they use this act to entice you away from their eggs. These birds will put on a crazy show to get the predator away from their nest. If only they were smart enough to not lay their eggs in such a vulnerable spot. Like the middle of our parkway.
Our kids became attached the birds quickly, and named them Popcorn and Polly. We would watch out the window as the birds would take turns keeping their eggs warm. At one point we watched as one sat in the hail and rain to protect the eggs. It was quite the show of parenthood that left me impressed, and wanting to somehow build a shelter to protect them even more. Of course, we could only sit back and watch nature take its course.
Over the period of about a month we kept a watchful eye on the Killdeer’s four little eggs, and we anticipated the day when they would finally hatch. Unfortunately, the day came when we found the eggs destroyed and the parents screeching over the loss of their babies. It was a moment that I won’t soon forget. With each screech I wanted to somehow convey to the little Killdeer birds that I knew their pain. That I know what it’s like to lose a child, but of course it is silly to try and tell that to a bird.
With that experience not far from my mind, I was a bit disappointed when this spring we found a Robin’s nest in our hanging planter by our front door. I couldn’t even fathom having to go through that experience again, and hoped beyond all hopes that these little birdies would make it. One of the major worries was that this particular hanging planter would typically fall if the wind blew too hard. With each storm we would watch with worry as the planter would sway back and forth, but would somehow hold strong. Finally, one day those little eggs hatched, and not long after that we could see the babies’ heads poking out on top of the nest.Several weeks later we came home from a vacation to find the babies perched on the top of their nest. They stretched their wings, and looked around nervously. Finally, they were startled and jumped out of the only place they had ever known. They hopped and flew, hopped and flew until they got the hang of it. At that moment, we knew that at least for now, they had made it. We knew that even though sometimes things don’t work out the first time, there is always hope for the second time. We learned that with those bad things, hope can show up unexpectedly. It can even show up on your doorstep.