Returning to the nest....
Early in July, I had the pleasure of watching this family of Flickers at close range. Choosing to nest inside this tall snag outside the door of the family cabin, they were easily watched. Morning was my best light, and I would simply park my lawn chair in a good location, camera in hand, and wait. Wait some more. Watch as the parents would oh so carefully approach the nest hole. They would not fly directly to the begging nestlings, but perch nearby, watching. Slowly they would move closer. Why they thought such stealth was needed was a bit mysterious, as the clamors of the two nestlings pretty much revealed their location, anyway. Instinctive protectiveness, a parental characteristic that crosses species lines, was the likely explanation.
I've not had many opportunities to watch birds in the past two months, nor the energy or interest to do so. My own parental instincts have reflected those of this Flicker, cautiously approaching and retreating, even though, much as with these near-fledgling birds, my ability to have an influence has largely been a creation of my own active imagination.
Lemonade is still going to be awfully sour around here for a long time, I'm afraid. Nestlings will clamor in a way that attracts unwanted attention, parents will wring hands in spite of themselves, and hopefully, as for these birds, life will eventually sort itself out. There may well be symbolism involved in the fact that the next phase in this saga coincides with the annual start of migration. Though I've little interest, or ability, to get out and enjoy this amazing phenomenon, I realize it will happen whether I'm out there or not. Perhaps once again, birding serves as a metaphor for the joys and anguish of the lives of those of us who enjoy it.