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Andersen: A time to be born …

Paul Andersen
Fair Game

To everything, turn, turn, turn …

Twin bluebirds were born a month ago just outside our kitchen window. With cosmic synchronicity they flew from their nest on the same day that twins were born to friends of ours on the other side of the country.

What a strangely beautiful parallel universe we inhabit. While human twins were forming in Richmond, Virginia, a set of bluebird twins was forming in the Fryingpan River Valley of Colorado.

Both sets of parents were busily preparing their nests; one with bricks and mortar in a new home, the other with sticks and grasses in a wooden birdhouse atop a log post.

The idea was the same: provide a safe haven for family, a nesting place for the future, a home where hope and love spring up from nature’s intractable plan. Birds and humans are very much the same, with the same instincts and needs.

The months of gestation went by quietly for us, but not for the bluebirds, both of which were intent on creating the perfect home for their feathered offspring. Our friends in Richmond likewise were employed in creating a comforting space in a new house that needed all the touches to make it familiar, warm and safe.

Papa bluebird, richly adorned in deep electric blue, darted here and there with boundless energy. He flashed across our vantage like an indigo rocket, dutifully bringing something to the nest where he would perch, stick in his head, then flash off for another delivery. He was purposeful, focused, full of care and nurture.

Momma bluebird would emerge, now and then, to perch on the bare branches of a pinon tree, stretch her wings, take nourishment, breathe a deep sigh, then re-enter the birdhouse to tend to her natural mothering instincts.

We could only imagine the mom tending her eggs, burrowed deep within the dark warmth of nature’s downy quilt, sheltered when spring blizzards raged or when the mercury dropped well below freezing.

On quiet spring mornings, with the warming sun beaming down, we could hear only the faintest sound of peeping, a high-pitched chorus of two diminutive voices calling for their ever-attentive mom and dad.

By mid-May, their voices had grown in volume, echoing the demands of hunger for their growing bodies. Mom and Dad bluebird responded with more feedings, more attention, more frenetic behavior, all seen with a flurry of bright plumage.

On the day our friends’ twins were welcomed into the world as diminutive humans, our bluebird twins emerged from the nest. First they tested the air and gazed about with infinite curiosity for the world they were about to share with all other life, then they leaped with the faith that they could fly.

One day they were there and the next they were gone, the birdhouse empty. Mom and Dad then were busy teaching the babies how to fly, what to eat, how to live in a world both bountiful and hostile.

A month later we still see the babies — a pair of adult-sized bluebirds that fly together and exhibit the fluffy baby feathers that gave them warmth in the nest. They revisit their birdhouse and nestle against each other on the limbs of our pinon tree.

The parents are still here, too, hovering about and watching over their babies as these youngsters hone their flying skills and establish their bearings on a home to which they may return one day to hatch their own families.

Babies of any species elicit a great sense of wonder, bringing the gifts of life, birth, family and love. Last week we got a baby bonus with new additions to our neighborhood nursery: Five baby turkeys waddled across our yard, shepherded by two tall, leggy hens that guided their offspring with close scrutiny.

Driving home one night on the Frying Pan Road, we had another baby encounter when a small animal was caught by our headlights. We stopped to watch a newborn fawn staggering on precariously long legs as it waited for Mom to finish her drink from the river.

To every season, turn, turn, turn …

Paul Andersen’s column appears on Monday. He can be reached by email at andersen@rof.net.


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