Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of Death & Life & Deer & Robins:

Guest Blogger: Mountain Man

The skull and antlers, nailed securely to the wall of our woodshed, are evidence of the existence of a whitetail deer that was alive at one time. Those antlers were directly related to the deer’s chances of having offspring (bigger is better) as he competed with other male deer to continue his gene pool.
If successful he would never give a thought to helping raise the young.

The robins nest located between those antlers tells a different story however. It was built there by a male and female robin (who always agree on the style) for the sole purpose of raising offspring together. They planned their nest location well. Neither high winds, heavy rain, nor the strongest cat could threaten that nest.
The deer’s death turned into a good thing for them.

But death isn’t only the enemy of deer.

Soon after the nest was completed, I found the male robin’s body lying crumpled on the ground at the base of my garden fence. It appeared that he had flown into the fence at top speed.
A tragic accident for him and big trouble for his mate. She was in the process of laying the eggs.
I am sure she noticed that her mate was no longer around to help her. I was certain that she would soon abandon the nest.
She did not!

Even though she would leave the nest unprotected for long periods of time to find her own food, I found her feeding three babies one morning. Amazing! Ordinarily it takes both parents to raise a brood successfully. But it was still early.
One afternoon I saw her on the edge of the nest, her head drooping low, eyes closed, as the young demanded more food. She paid no attention to them. I walked up to her, thinking she was dying, perhaps from exhaustion, utterly used up. As I got close, her head snapped up, her eyes opened, and off she flew, soon to return with something she jammed down the throat of one of her young.
Incredibly she continued to feed those unknowing and ungrateful chicks until they flew off the nest. What a marvelous and amazing example of nature’s compelling life force.
That female robin never for a second considered that her total dedication to her young’s survival would in effect lead to more robins like herself which would compete directly with her for food and nesting sites, thus threatening her very own well being.

That female robin will soon die, her amazingly selfless efforts forgotten. And her death and the death of her mate will make room for others as the process of creating young vigorous life continues.

1 comment:

PurpleIris said...

Mountian Man, this is Lady Euphoria's friend from Massachusetts. Your story was so beautiful. The antler's beauty and the complexity of mortality with the robin's nest in the middle. It brings about the thoughts of the strength of nature and what animal parents bring to the world and what we can learn from nature. We are nothing more then a sneeze to the Earth compared with it's beauty and mystery.