Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Mystery

Yesterday, I watched two tiny fledglings in our yard.  I don't know much about birds and can only identify a few of them.  I couldn't get a clear picture, but later when I checked the internet, I believe they were Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The picture and description seemed to fit.

Anyway, as I watched these two babies trying to learn how to fly, I noticed that Mama was giving all of her attention to just one of them.  She stayed very close to it and raised a ruckus when other birds came near.  The other fledgling was way on the other side of the yard and just kind of hopped about and fluttered on its own.  Mama pretty much ignored the little guy.

I went out to get a closer look, and all three flew under a nearby shrub.  Soon after that, it started to rain, and I didn't see them again. But, I've been wondering about those babies ever since.  Did Mama really have a favorite?    If so, why did she choose that one over the other? They both looked exactly the same in size, coloring, and ability.  Well, all that wondering led to this poem.

Baby Bird

Today I watched you
on our lawn
walk, hop, flutter—
learning how
to fly.

On the other side,
your brother
was learning too—
Your mama
close by
protecting him.

But, you—
she left you
all alone
to survive
on your own.

I wonder…


©Linda Kulp Trout

A special thank you to Donna for hosting today's Poetry Friday at Mainely Write.


  1. I love the story behind your poem, and your poem shows the scene well, and it is a wondering. I love those few rhymes, Linda.

  2. That was a bewildering thing! Why? Do you suppose they just know they can't keep an eye on two so they just randomly pick one? Or maybe she told the other one to wait in the nest, and it didn't listen! Rebel!

  3. Such a sweet poem. Wondering is the best. You never know where it will lead! I hope you see your feathered friends again sometime! -- Christie @

  4. What sweet birds! I hope they return. Wondering is the best. You never know where it might lead. -- Christie @

  5. Linda you really captured your "wonder" in this poem! I'd love to hear from an ornithologist the answer to this question. Meanwhile your poem is wonderful. Thank you! xo

  6. Our lovebird lays (unfertilized) eggs, and sometimes she tosses the first one out of the nest and sits on the others. ??

  7. I love the wonder of your poem. My daughter hates it when I watch her doing things for the 1st time. Maybe the momma bird was giving the one some space to work it out on their own? :) I really want to put a little birdfeeder out by our back door, but I just don't know if it'll work. We live in a townhome and essentially have no yard!

  8. What a sweet little bird, and a lovely poem to match. It's amazing what we notice when we stop and observe and wonder. Hope the second bird finds his wings!

  9. Linda, backstories always supply information that helps me understand the intent of the poem. This is sunkissed moment for sure so if you want to package your poem and photo, please do so for my Sunkissed Summer Gallery.

  10. This is interesting behaviour. It needs spinning into a bird story. I bet you could do it!

  11. Having raised domestic animals and observed wild ones, it's interesting to see how unusual human behavior is, compared to most others; many parents simply help the stronger, healthier babies and let the weaker ones fall by the wayside...quite said, actually.

  12. I love how you end with a question. A really great story behind the poem too.

  13. Bird watching is such a rewarding pastime and leads to so many wonderings. Thanks for sharing your observations of those sweet little birds and your lovely poem.

  14. This would be a very effective story and wonder poem to share with primary-aged kids--it's right at their level and probably also catches an emotional theme for any of them with siblings!

    I've never heard of gnatcatchers before--kind of adorable!

  15. I agree with Heidi. This poem teaches how to take our wonderings and make them into poetry that accesses deep emotion and sticks with a person.