Nominated for Picture of the Year 2006
Photo by Stefan-Xp
My friend, Sandra Tucker, and I were discussing the birds in the previous entry the day after I posted. She said, "Can you imagine what happened when they got back to the nest?"
Wow, that is almost like saying "What is the worst that can happen?" to a writer. It was as if she straddled a Harley, hooked her heel on the lever, raised her body up and came down on the kick-start, firing the noisy engine into pulsating life.
So, the mommy bird arrives back at the nest first. The babies scream out their fear at being left alone. "Mommy, Mommy, where's Daddy? Why did you leave? I was scared."
The mother perches on the edge of the nest, offering comfort to the babies, but her head swivels back, searching the sky. "Hush now, my sweet ones, it will be okay." Her voice warbles with her own fear. Minutes tick by with only the sounds of her babies' soft whimpers and the drone of commuters rushing home in their automobiles. "It will be okay," she repeats. Perhaps she'll believe it if she repeats it often enough. She smooths out her wings and focuses her attention on the babies, cooing to them.
Then she hears it; the frantic flapping of wings displacing air. She jerks to attention and swings her head around, her wings spread over the defenseless babies. The small, sleek, brown body of her precious mate beats his way to her, unharmed. Triumphant. Joy fills her and she jumps to the edge, leaning toward him, beckoning him. He circles once, twice, flexing trim wings, puffing out his handsome breast, the sunlight catching the hint of color in his plumage. He lands on the opposite edge. The babies go wild, their rapture evident in their jubilant chirps.
"I was so afraid," she says, taking a few deep breaths.
He laughs and heaves a sigh of his own. "Yeah, when I saw that shadow cross the nest, I've got to admit my own heart went pitty-pat."
She smiles and moves around the edge, closer to him. "You were wonderful. So brave, so fearless. You saved our babies."
His beak dips into his wing and he picks out a bit of twig. "You weren't so bad yourself, my sweet. You jumped right in, chasing that filthy miscreant without any concern for your own safety."
She stiffens and shakes her head violently. "He threatened my babies. Nobody threatens my babies while I've got breath in my body. But, you were so on top of that pirate, like a warrior. Like a hero." She swoons nearer to him.
He dips his head toward her as the babies quiet down and watch their parents. "I guess we make a pretty good team."
"I guess we do."
They snuggle for a few minutes and smile at the babies. Then he straightens up. "Hey, do you mind if I go over to the wren's house? I want to tell them what happened."
She presses her beak together and hops into the nest, arranging her wings over the babies. "Sure. Go ahead. I've got things covered here."