It’s a bit of deja vu, as I did a Father’s Day post in 2006 which featured two newly hatched birds in a perfectly formed nest resting on a yucca branch in plain view from our terrace at the beach. And I did another post on a baby bird smacking into our glass doors, twice! So when I paused to observe, and eventually photograph this pair of maya-maya birds at the beach last weekend, most probably caring for their newly hatched chicks, I thought that it was an incredible coincidence that Father’s day was just a few days away…
Our exterior walls are clad in raw unfinished adobe stone. They have an incredibly earthy quality to them and we love how they change color during a rainstorm, turning from a dark grey with specks of brown to a nearly matte black. But over the years, we have noticed that the stones have provided several natural “apartments” for the birds. And last weekend, I spied an incredible amount of activity at two “penthouse” units right near the top of the adobe walls. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that the birds had been customizing their apartments by expanding them one grain of adobe at a time. But in this two exit unit, one end of the apartment has been stuffed with hay while the other is the entry and exit to the family’s abode. The mother (I assume) kept flying off to find food that she would bring back and stuff into the hole to feed her young chicks that you could HEAR chirping away. Meanwhile, the father (I assume) was on guard duty on the ledge just up above. What amazed me about this scene was the care, persistence and protectiveness apparent in the couple’s efforts to raise their young.
In the span of say 2 hours, I noticed that the mother or father brought back food or other materials at least 20 times, and went inside the nest at least 8-10 times. And ever present was the other spouse out on the ledge, looking out for predators or other enemies. It was a microcosm of what families of any animal class should be about. Looking after and nurturing their young, and later, knowing when it is appropriate to let go. I was a bit concerned about this nest up high on the penthouse floor, because once the little chicks decided to head out on their own, it was a long way down smack into a cement paver. But then again, most nests are nestled precariously in lofty heights.
In many traditional human families, it is often the father that is supposed to be the “provider” or the one that earns a living. But more often than not, both parents now work and parenting for much of the waking hours of children is done by someone else, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, siblings, staff, teacher, counselor, etc. If there was one thing I would wish for all parents around the world, it would be that at LEAST one parent was around at home for the formative years of their own children. I am not talking about quality time. Just time. And lots of it. And the presence of mind to use the time appropriately and to recognize when one can seize a moment and use it to teach or learn something new. Time flies by so incredibly fast, that before you know it, your young children are teenagers and well on their way to their own independent lives. Cherish the early years and hopefully, you will build a bond that truly lasts a lifetime.
So with that slightly convoluted post, here’s wishing all fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! And for the bachelors in the readership, this last photo is for you. Just beside the family in the apartment to the right, was this bachelor pad with this rakish 20-something zipping in and out of his studio. You could almost make up the dialogue while they pooped out on the ledge:
Bachelor #1: Hey dude… what’s with the Mrs. barfing all the time?
Dad #1 : Oh, it’s just the kids’ breakfast, needs to be processed a bit…
Bachelor #1: Ewww. And what’s with all the noise, you think they could keep it down a little?
Dad # 1 : They couldn’t sleep last night, too much NOISE from the party in your pad, buddy…
Bachelor #1: Oh, sorry, things got a little out of hand last night
Mom #1 : Dad, will you stop talking and take out the garbage???
Hahahaha. Happy Father’s Day!