Saturday, September 1, 2018

Empty Nest

It started early this spring. Tiny cheeps emanated from the chimney as we sat watching TV and eating our dinners.
'Oh, we have a bird's nest in the chimney! What should we do about it?"
"Just leave it be. The babies will eventually grow and fly away."
So we sat, each evening, listening to the tiny peeps and cheeps.
Mid-summer, and the sound started getting louder and more raucous. It got so bad that we had to bang on the old railway tie that serves as a mantelpiece over the fireplace. That seemed to command their attention and quiet for a few minutes. Then the chittering would start all over again.
M texted me in a panic one evening, when we had gone somewhere, leaving her to her own devices, since she didn't want to come with us. "The birds in the chimney are making a huge racket. It sounds really scary, what should I do?"
I didn't have much advice for her, beyond the usual suggestion to bang on the mantelpiece. Predictably, it failed to work for longer than a few minutes.
A few weeks later, and we no longer cared to listen for the ever-present chitters and cheeps, figuring that this year's brood was just taking a longer than average time to fledge. We were busy too, getting ready to pack M off to her new dorm at her university.
Finally, the big day came. We loaded up the van with suitcases, mini-fridge, microwave, etc. and spent a good part of the morning setting up M's room. After lunch, we left her to acclimatize to her new space, and came home tired in the evening.
That evening as we put on the TV, there was something missing. The loud chorus of cheeps, that always accompanied the sound of the talking heads on TV, was gone. The birds had fledged, and the nest was empty.
The chimney swifts, just like M, were gone with the summer.