A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Learning to Fly

The boys became obsessed with a young cowbird last week that seemed to be lost.

They believed it had fallen from its nest and was trying to find its way back.

It was fairly large for a young bird and had the tiniest tuft of down feathers on top of its head.

Other than that it seemed fully developed.

After several more minutes of close observation the boys concluded that the bird was learning to fly.

It would claw its way up the nearest tree, climbing fairly high, then take a leap flapping wildly as it glided back to the ground.

Seemingly unafraid of any of us, it hopped right by to make its way back up the tree.

“Should we help it back up?” One of the boys said.

They discussed amongst themselves before coming to the conclusion that it was best to let it climb without assistance so it could strengthen its muscles.

Several tries later the little bird had clearly made progress, flying a little farther from the tree each time.

I went inside and a while later heard the boys frantically yelling. The cat from next door had discovered the bird as well and they were trying to keep her away. 

We were able to get her back inside and tragedy was averted.

“What if it doesn’t learn how to fly today?” Finn asked. “Where is it going to stay for the night?”

“I know,” he said before anyone answered.

He ran inside and grabbed a bird’s nest from his nature table that he’d found last year.

Together they decided to place it in the tree the bird had been climbing the most. That way when it got tired it could just crawl in and have a rest.

A few minutes later the bird flew to another part of the yard and they lost track of it, but left the nest there in case it came back.

We’ve noticed more birds learning to fly since that day. Most of them with the mother staying close by and making a lot of noise if you get too close.

We’ve also observed a more diverse bird population. Orioles for the first time and quite a few eastern bluebirds. 

Recent articles in the New York Times and Scientific American have suggested that the worldwide quarantines have allowed animals to roam more freely.

As we are learning how to take care of ourselves in this moment in time that is unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, we are also learning how to really care for the earth.

We’re learning what the earth really needs from us.

It needs our stillness.

So that the rest of the beings on the planet can move about as freely as we have been doing for eons.

So they can regain their strength and flourish.

When our new normal is fully formed, will we remember that what is best for the planet and our own well being are the same thing?