The Chickadee nest box was empty of parent birds when I opened it today. The babies were snug and dreaming sweet dreams. Eyes not yet opened, they were not even begging for food. Contentment! Like that cat sound asleep and lying on its back in your lap, they were totally trusting and believing that there is not a care in the world about which to worry.
I was there but seconds when who should perch on a tree branch not far above me? Lucy? Is that you? (It could have been Ricky since it’s impossible to recognize the male from the female of the species as the sexes look alike.) I think it was Lucy not Ricky and not some unrelated chickadee. I say that because an unrelated bird would neither care nor come so close. Lucy is the one who spends more time in the box. And, the bird watched my every move with the same body language common to protective MOMS everywhere in the universe. So, I believe it was she. Although she watched me carefully, something was very different … Lucy was not scolding. She seemed calm knowing that her nest and babies were never harmed by my presence. I usually have to distance myself quite a bit before one of the parents re-enters the box. But after I backed away only a few yards, Lucy fluttered down from her perch and, not caring that I was observing, entered her cozy nest. I’m sure she kissed each nestling and decided perhaps I am not such a bad landlady in spite of my strange human penchant for spying on birds.