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By Jess Utz 

Protecting the Nest

 


I like to take pictures. A lot of you know that, and I don’t get out as much as I like to. I especially like to take pictures of birds, second, only recently, to taking pictures of my granddaughter. Karrie and I have been traveling a lot back and forth to different places depending on where our creator calls us and during these trips we are always looking for a photo opportunity from our feathered or furry friends.

I also am addicted to bird cams on YouTube. I have been watching the nesting process of eagles, osprey and other birds. This includes the hatching of the babies and watching them grow and leave the nesting area. It is fun to watch the process, although others in the TV viewing area might find this boring or at the very least uninteresting. But granddaughter Ali enjoys falling asleep listening to the sounds of baby osprey.

On one occasion, we were watching a great blue heron on her nest when a great horned owl attacked her in a time of misjudgment of the prey at hand. That momma heron defended her nest with violent abandon and kept her eggs safe until the raptor realized its mistake and moved on. That little video of the cycle of life in the wild got me thinking about the power of defending the nest.

Recently, on a little walk to take some pictures, I found myself within a few feet of a large bull snake. Usually I would leave well enough alone, knowing that bull snakes eat rodents. But this large snake had made its home right near a set of playground equipment. I knew that this slithering creature needed to be relocated. So, I contacted the ground manager, and the relocation of the snake and the closure of its summer home was put into action. This also got me thinking a little more.

When you’re a parent, especially a new parent, you are very protective of your little bundle of joy. You guard and defend it at all costs, much like an osprey that will swoop down and discourage you from getting any closer to the nest. When you hear a noise in the middle of the night you get up and investigate the foreign sound. You defend the baby’s area from pests, you keep it clean, free from sickness-carrying folks. You do your best before they leave the nest.

We do our best as parents to achieve a full, healthy childhood until it is time for our little ones to spread their wings and fly off on an adventure. Yes, they still return from time to time to eat, clean and get filled back up with love, and then they are out again. Sometimes we do not get to see the bloom of our offspring until later in life, but nonetheless we realize and know the sacrifice given daily in the early ages of life.

So, what is the point of this week’s writing? To encourage you. Sometimes an unseen attack will happen to your nest and you must defend with vigor. Sometimes your nest will have to be relocated. That is OK as well. Sometimes you will have to swoop down on possible dangers and let them know how you feel about them being there. Sometimes we must be the parent that is unpopular, confrontational, worried, safe and strict. It is for the overall safety of the eggs, the offspring. It is OK to set boundaries, to have rules, to go against what everyone else is doing. Because ultimately, all that is being done out of love. We do not always have to be a friend to our kids, but we do always have to be their parent.

Sometimes things go wrong, too. Even when we have done everything possible to protect the nest. An egg sometimes just does not hatch. Sometimes a predator does get in. Sometimes a young one falls from the safety zone and sometimes unfortunate accidents happen. That does not make you a bad parent. That is one of those things in nature that is the nature of things. You are not to blame for the bad things. There is a greater force at play sometimes.

I’m Jess saying.

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