Monday, December 19, 2011

Lessons from Nature for the New Year...

My little Hadeda chick did not make it. For two whole weeks he survived (I decided it was a male) in the garden whilst, wonder of wonders, his parents fed him.

Jamie and Jemma were fantastic as they were only allowed out one at a time under strict supervision. Like most city dogs, they missed not being able to view the passing traffic at the gate and the greetings from walkers by.

This was the longest time that a Hadeda chick has ever survived on the ground in my garden. The day he died, he was fine at 9am but by lunch time he was gone. This despite frantic efforts to syringe feed him liquids and food when we saw that he was wilting. We had been working in the garden that morning and afterwards we wondered if this had stressed the chick? Or had it become dehydrated in the heat because its parents would not land while we were outside?

I felt heart broken and guilty about the thought that we may have played a role in the Hadeda's death or that we had not done enough. What's it they say about hind sight...
The parents waited for ages in the trees to see if there was any sign of life from their baby. All those months of effort for nought.
The next day I buried him in the garden.

Nature can be so fragile and we as keepers of the Earth have to be so careful how we tread.

However while the drama of the Hadeda was being played out, another story was unfolding in my garden that tells of resilience and hope in Nature.

Next to my study window, nested in a bush of ivy, are two black-eyed Bulbul chicks. Their parents work tirelessly as they flurry back and forth trying to keep their chirpy offspring happy. A couple of days ago, one of the chicks flew out the nest and perched unsteadily on a bush nearby. The other chick makes tremendous efforts to try and follow but has not been successful so far. I worried that the parents would only focus on the stronger chick but they are dutifully dividing their attention between the two. These Bulbul parents have impressed me enormously with their complete dedication and tireless efforts to raise their young.

But most incredible of all, is the fact that the Hadeda's parents have not given up on bringing new life into the world. They have built a new nest on which one of them is sitting even as I write this post.


Happy Holidays!