Nature’s way of self-protection is extraordinary.
It is the breeding season now for many birds and other forms of wildlife, and I have been watching their activity in my garden with keen interest and enjoyment. It has puzzled me, however, that I have been unable to identify easily where the nests were being created until I learned that some birds rarely go directly to their nests but take as circuitous route as possible in order to hide the location of their eggs from potential predators. With this knowledge I looked at the flight patterns in a new way and saw how cleverly birds look after their young.
This was proven further in recent days. Though I could not see it, I suspected blackbirds had a nest deep in a thick azalea at the far side of the pond, and two nights ago, at dusk, I saw several baby birds flutter out, one by one, to land rather precariously on nearby trees - and then suddenly they vanished. I saw no more of them until yesterday, when I noticed a hungry juvenile on the ground near some seeds I had put out, with its father dashing backwards and forwards to feed it and to teach it how to take the food for itself.
This went on for some time, and I wondered where the other young birds were. I asked the question of someone who knows about these things, and was told that the parents will have led each juvenile to a different place in the garden for safety, so that if it were threatened by a crow, for example, still being so vulnerable, only one “child” would be lost and the majority of the clutch would survive. So in this case, both the parents will have moved between their babies, one by one, to help them survive the dangerous early days of life out of the nest in the best way possible.
I found this instinctive desire and knowing to nurture and protect their young moving and impressive. It reminded me of when I saw a juvenile yellowhammer lying stunned beneath my window having flown into the glass, with its father standing over it nudging and talking to it with such love and concern in its demeanour, and such relief when it recovered and was able to fly away.
Some people say birds and animals do not feel emotion: I know they do.