• Dealing with empty nest syndrome...

Dealing with empty nest syndrome...

My babies have moved on, taken to wing, flown the coop… or maybe they have been eaten by the cat next door, but this afternoon when I went out to check on the bird nest in my fern on the front porch, the nest was empty. Talk about “empty nest syndrome.” I’ve been watching that little nest for about a month.

Now this is not our first house wren to make a nest on the front porch. Twice, they nested in an old mailbox. The mailbox doesn’t provide an ideal situation for me, whereas the fern is perfect. The fern hangs on a hook across from our glass front door, so the bird activity is easily observed. The fern can be taken down and peeped into without disturbing the nest. The only problem we had was a curious cat I found hanging by all fours under the basket on night when I was turning off the porch light. It looked like the fern was wearing a Davy Crocket hat. I screamed, the dogs barked, and the cat ran off. I became more vigilant and vocal. She didn’t come back.

If you’ve never had “bird babies,” then it’s a process. After the nest is securely woven and lined with fluff, the first egg appears. Ours, the house wren’s eggs, were light blue. The male house wren is rather red, so I was afraid he might be a little suspicious of his wife, but we looked it up. The House Wren’s eggs are usually light blue, so no problem. Each day, I took down the hanging basket to find another egg in the nest until there were four. The birds visited regularly and stayed on the nest, even though I suspected that 107-degree weather might have been enough for the incubation.

A little over a week later, the first little scrawny bird appeared. Luckily, I was able to get a picture of the “hungry babies” to send to my grandchildren. The next day, my daughter called with their own news. My son-in-law had noticed a robin’s nest in the tree beside their garage. To take a picture, he had to climb up on the side of his pickup, but sure enough there was still one beautiful blue egg and a hatched baby. They weren’t as cute as mine, but they were ok, for robins.

My daughter oneupped me by having a baby shower for her birds. She put out a big pan of water and filled the bird feeder near the nest. I put out some feelers, but my friends weren’t interested in getting together for a Wren-Hen-Fest.

In my depression after finding the empty nest, I went out on the back porch to lie in the swing and take advantage of the ninety-eight-degree cool spell. Up above in the very top of my very tall sycamore tree was a big nest. It was hard to judge from forty feet away, but it looked about “about this big”… at least a foot across.

About that time a Mississippi kite swooped over the neighborhood. The kite is a hawk/eagle relative who frequents this area. I looked it up. Sure enough, their nests are about that size, made from leaves and twigs. Sometimes they are known to take over the homes of squirrels.

The tree is too tall for a woman my age to climb, and about half the limbs are dead. Therefore, I will not be able to keep a close eye on the kites… if in fact there is a kite nest in the sycamore. It may be an old squirrel nest. If it is, I know I’m going to leave it alone… they bite.

Breckenridge American

114 East Elm Street

PO Box 871

Breckenridge, Texas 76424

Phone: (254) 559-5412
Fax: (940) 228-0589