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The Nest

Posted: January 14, 2021
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While we contemplated, applying our limited academic knowledge, nature was beautifully unfolding.

A pigeon pair was nesting in our balcony. With their repeated sojourns over the last couple of days, we guessed they were looking for a spot to build a nest. They zeroed on the cozy nook of the balcony. Soon they were off to work, building their nest. From then on, it became a ritual for us to check on them. We spent a fair amount of time watching them—not just their actions, but their interactions with each other, often wondering what they might be thinking, feeling or saying to each other.

The story of the pigeon family

Oblivious to our conjectures, the two went about their job. One, presumably the female (yes, that was a pure guess) waited at the nesting site. The male flew out, bringing back twigs. Then the female accepted those, and after a quick inspection placed them beneath her. The nest was now ready. We now saw her there more often. We waited in anticipation for the eggs. And the day after, there they were – 3 little pristine eggs. The parents now looked visibly nervous and guarded. They took turns to incubate their eggs. They changed shifts. The changeover would happen seamlessly. As one came in, the other finishing its duty would fly out making place for the other.

And then one Sunday morning, we woke up to 3 little fledglings – tiny, scrawny-looking, featherless creatures. The nest was now abuzz with activity. Despite the wind and rain, the parents made sure their little ones were safe. Nudging them under their wings and feeding them out of their own mouth with regurgitated food. This routine continued uninterrupted for many days. About 3 weeks had gone; the fledglings were growing. They now had feathers and were beginning to look like their parents. The nest seemed smaller. The young ones had started to hop out. They seemed to be exploring, fluttering their little wings. The parents continued to keep a vigil at that spot. Needless to say, we watched completely in awe, fascinated at their wondrous journey from fragile beginnings.

The third baby pigeon

And then one day, two of them were gone. The third one, however, stayed back. He trotted up and down but didn’t seem too keen on taking on the world just yet. The parents continued to visit the site, but more often than not, it was this little one. As days went by, our concerns began to grow; we wondered what would become of him

• Would he be able to survive alone?

• Would the parents abandon him like his siblings had done?

• Should the siblings have waited for him? Were they selfish or independent?

• Why didn’t the parents intervene, and push him to fly? Wouldn’t that be an instinctive, unconscious urge?

• Did he know the inevitable fate that awaited him? If yes, why did he not want to do something about it?

• What really stopped him? Is it because he loved the nest too much or was it because he lacked the courage to step out of his familiar space?

The beauty of nature

While we contemplated, applying our limited academic knowledge, nature was beautifully unfolding. One mid afternoon, we saw him fluttering his wings – this was the first time ever he’d spread his wings. He hopped around a bit; he seemed more energetic than usual. Soon after, he took off. It was a short, shaky downward flight into the adjacent balcony. Concerned, we watched on. But within seconds, he took off again, flying beyond the hedges and trees till I could see him no longer.

Relieved yet overwhelmed, I smiled as I held back my tears… Marveling at the miracle called nature!

And then a few days later, we saw a pigeon with twigs, perching on the nest again. Preparations were on for a new arrival… And we waited eagerly for another new story to unfold…

Image source: Pixabay

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Shashi is a corporate leader with more than 18 years of multi-dimensional work experience.

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