The mockingbird family I wrote about yesterday is now completing its first day with the babies out of the nest.  There were four babies yesterday, scattered around the neighboring yards, the parents frantically trying to watch them as they flapped their baby wings, too short to lift their fat bodies very far.  By night, they had gathered them in one yard, the only yard for several houses without cats or dogs.  They found a spot in the corner with a chair covered by a mat beside a birdbath with hedges close by.  Perfect.  A thunderstorm blew through last night and I picture the mother cuddling with them again under the mat, this time without the nest she had so carefully built.

Today, I looked out and there are only three babies.  I can only imagine that one flapped too far away and maybe didn’t make it.  At least its body didn’t show up on my doorstep as a present from my cats.  Now there are three.  I relate.DSC_0027And they still don’t know how to take care of themselves and still have fuzzy heads.  When I spotted them, they were staying together, flying to the ground and then hopping back up the mat.  They weren’t straying too far.DSC_0028DSC_0034I should have known it was breakfast time.  They could hear their mother’s wings and all stood up, spreading their wings and opening their mouths…DSC_0036Of course, Mom and/or Dad were out there getting something for them to eat.  Just because the babies left the nest doesn’t mean they know much about taking care of themselves, including where to find food.  Am I putting myself into this story too much?  One got distracted, which means he or she will be at the end of the line for the next bite.DSC_0037Yep!
DSC_0038But there will be more.  The babies started chirping, getting more impatient.DSC_0040The mother is doing the best she can for these little ones.  While I stood at the fence shooting these pictures from a yard away, she landed right beside me and looked up. I understood that she might have been checking out my motives, so I didn’t say anything and she flew away, ever mindful of her motherly duties.DSC_0042This last shot reminded me of the frantic nature of being a parent.  You can’t get it all done fast enough and yet you keep doing it.  And the kids keep chirping and hopping around and falling down.  Oops!  I mean baby birds, of course.DSC_0041The babies were starting to get fuller tummies and were awake now, so when I looked back, there were only two.  One had flapped into another yard where there is a dog, one was on the ground, and the other clung to the place where he should stay.  I glanced again and all three were in different directions.  For this mother, like all mothers, the day has just begun.