Feature

Baby Bird

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One afternoon I found a terrified baby bird trapped in our basement window well. As I bent down to set it free, the mother rushed over, frantically shrieking and flapping her wings to try to scare me away and assure her little one that she was there. The baby bird was doing the same things. Although it couldn’t fly, it spread its little wings and jumped around—doing a pretty good job of scaring me to death. I was able to capture the baby and let it loose in the back yard. The mother dive bombed me, letting the baby bird know that she was there and would take care of anyone who came near her chick.

I am sure the baby bird decided it was time to leave the nest. Its mother might have said, “Now, honey, I don’t think you’re quite ready. Maybe another day or two, just to make sure your wings are strong enough; then you can go.” But the baby decided, “No, I want to go NOW. I know what I’m doing, and the world looks so interesting outside of this nest.”

After skydiving from its nest, the baby somehow made it to the top of our fence. And then it happened—it fell to the ground. No problem—there was a lot to see down there, too. I’m sure the mother was squawking and chirping, “Watch out! Be careful!” but the baby, having a new experience, hopped to the window well and fell through the bars. She was huddled in one corner looking up at her mom when I found her. Mom couldn’t get to her, and she couldn’t get to her mom. I don’t think mom was yelling, “I told you so. What is your problem? Well, now you’ve done it!” No, I’m sure she was saying, “It’s OK. I’ll think of something—just stay calm. I’m right here.” She was still protecting her little one, keeping a loving eye on that baby, singing to her, letting her know she was not far. Even though the baby bird had to live with the consequences of her decision, the mother wasn’t going to leave her alone.

Once the bird was free, it hopped up on top of our half wall, taking refuge in one of our bushes. The mother bird would fly away looking for food and probably caring for her other babies and then come back. She would feed the bird and then fly away and get more food. No matter what else she may have been doing, she somehow knew when her baby was in danger and would come flying. When I let the dogs out or if I checked on the baby, the mom was back—dive bombing and screeching.

I thought about how that is a perfect picture of what parents do. So often we can’t really help. We see that our children are hurting or have gotten into a tough situation, but we just don’t have the power to change their circumstances. Yet we try our best to protect, defend and give them what we think they need.

The trial of the baby bird did not end there. That night, we watched from our backdoor as large hailstones rained down on that sweet baby. She was probably thinking Holy cow, what is this? This never happened when I was in that wonderful warm nest with mom and my ‘peeps.’

On the second day the mother bird gave the baby a snack and then landed on the fence and started chirping. The baby hopped out of the bush and onto a lantern that was stuck in the ground. The mother flew about a foot away and chirped again. The baby hopped off the lantern and fluttered her wings just enough to get into another bush. The mother flew a few more feet and chirped loudly. The baby fluttered her wings and this time flew about a yard. The mother flew again and called out to the baby, who hesitated but then flapped her wings as hard as she could and landed on the fence. My husband and I were watching and cheering. It was amazing!

Mother and baby then flew together to the neighbor’s yard. I thought, Yes, my kids can now fly. They have grown up and left the nest. Their father and I have done all the teaching we can do, we have warned as much as we can, we have tried to protect them from the dangers of the world—but now they can fly.

In Matthew 23:37 Jesus states that He longs to protect us “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” It brings me great comfort to know that God cares for our children and loves them like a mother loves her chicks. As I watched the two-day ordeal in our backyard, Matthew 6:26 came to mind as well: “‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?’” Yes, you are! As our children fly farther and farther from home, it is a comfort to know that Someone who loves them even more than their parents do is continuing their care. My husband and I released our three young adults into His loving wings. With His guidance, we did our best to train them, teach them, love them and prepare them, but it is amazing to watch as they fly now. No matter where they are or what they are doing, God is always watching out for them, listening for their cry and encouraging and directing them.

God gave me the gift of that bird to show His loving care for my children!

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