Monday, August 1, 2011

Empty nest

My window dove's nest is empty for the worst possible reasons.

The Husband woke up early on Saturday, brought us cups of tea in bed and reported that the mother dove and two babies were sitting in the nest that could hardly contain the family anymore as the babies had grown so big.

I got up a short time later and looked out the window to check on my birdy friends. The nest was empty. I ran out into the garden and could see the mother dove on our roof looking down and pacing in a fretful kind of way towards the tree where her nest is. That's when I saw the currawong.

I tried to scare the currawong away but it didn't want to go. I started throwing pebbles at it and it reluctantly spread its huge wings and moved up a few trees. I ran after it and, as I did, the mother bird swooped down from the roof and kept pace with me, flying just above my shoulder. Together we got the currawong to leave.

Walking back down the side of the house I could see little fluffy feathers on the paving and I knew both baby birds were dead. We found one of them, which the currawong must have dropped and was trying to retrieve when I came outside. It was still warm. The other was nowhere to be found.

After shedding a few tears, we buried the baby bird. The mother, who was joined by a male dove, stayed on our roof just near the nest all day. The babies had been days away from being able to fly as they only need two weeks in the nest before being self sufficient. They were so close. But not close enough.

I know I was just witnessing nature at work but I'd become, probably quite unreasonably, attached to this little family after watching the daily events in the nest as far back as April. As I sit at my desk now I can see the robbed and abandoned nest and it makes me want to cry.

The mother dove and her partner are still about and I throw them bits of bread. I couldn't help save her babies but at least I can find her a bit of food.

On Sunday we were sitting on our back deck and a, or possibly the, currawong appeared. I shouted at it to go away. It sat there. I threw a shoe at it. It sat there. I got up and marched into The Child's room and asked for something, which she raised her eyebrows about. I went back to the deck and returned to my cup of tea. The currawong was still there. I loaded The Child's nerf gun, stood up and pointed it at the currawong. It didn't move. I fired. It moved - with satisfyingly great speed.

I wish I'd thought of the nerf gun earlier. I could have sat at my desk, window open, gun loaded and hair pulled back in a ponytail like an Australian Sarah Palin.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't actually want to hit the currawong as I know it was only doing what comes naturally to it. Regardless, the nerf gun remains loaded and ready. The currawong can do whatever it likes. Just not in my backyard.


  1. Oh no! How sad for your little birdie family. I can imagine it would be akin to losing a pet, with the nest being so close to your home. Poor Mr and Mrs Birdie :( And yes I would feel the same towards the evil currawong.

  2. So sorry to hear about your baby birds :-(

  3. Oh how distressing, it's your closeness that makes this even more terrible. I would be terribly upset too and would yell swear words at it. I don't know the currawong, none in NZ thank goodness, it sounds awful. Next year you will be prepared.

  4. Oh no! That is so very sad. After that mama braved the storms in order to protect her nest and then that mean old black bird comes along. We don't always get to see the cycle of life in the wild so it can be quite upsetting when we experience it up close and personal. The vision of someone protecting their property with a Nerf gun is rather funny. I prefer not to think about Sarah Palin. :/ Happy 1st day of August to you. Tammy

  5. When I saw the two flowers I knew what had happened. It's so sad, those dear little vulnerable babies. It's the cycle of life I suppose. I had a similar thing happen and I was so upset for days. Go the nerf gun! Keep it close!

  6. That is such a sad thing, however natural it might be. I think the nerf gun is a brilliant solution. With any luck, the currawongs might decide to move on.

  7. :( So sorry to hear this. Poor doves. I guess nature is what it is but a nerf gun surely won't go astray in the future. I prefer to think of you more like a Ripley defends us from the aliens type heroine. I am not so sure about Sarah Palin. Hugs, Stephie x