I’ve become an empty nester.
For the past season I been watching from my kitchen window a bundle of sticks hold together in the wildest winds and torrential rain, protecting its Currawong owner and her eggs. I watched her sit there for weeks, waiting. I was bored for her and championed her as she fiercely chased swooping poachers and sticky beaks.
Then in no time, as kids do, the triplets grew. They were black, fluffy and brave as they sat on the edge of their nest. It was clear they were getting too big for their one bedroom home but still not ready to use their wings. Mum patiently kept an eye.
Oh the patience of a mother.
But this week they are gone and I’m missing them. I mentioned it to Arthur, my neighbour who feeds the local bird families in his backyard. “You know they are two males looking after those chicks?” “What? Really? “Yep, you can tell by the colouring. The males do all the work”.
I had to look this up. Here’s what I found out: ‘The female incubates the eggs and the male feeds her. The male also supplies food to the female for the first week after the chicks hatch and then she feeds the chicks’.(http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Strepera-graculina)
What a nice little lesson in making assumptions of a family dynamic don’t you think?