Fledge the Nest: Animals as our Teachers
Did you know that before many birds can fly, they spend time on the ground? This is called the FLEDGLING PHASE and it can help you understand that being “grounded,” can help you fly!
I was walking home from work on Friday night, and noticed a small starling fledgling on the ground. It is common to see baby birds on the ground in the spring, as they are learning how to fly. This particular bird was on the sidewalk, just below the grassy knoll of the park. I started to feel uneasy. The local farmer’s market was the next day and there’d be lots of activity on the sidewalk. Mama bird was feeding the fledgling, so I decided to leave her on the sidewalk, under a tree.
Saturday mornings usually start off slow for me, but on this particular Saturday, I was up at 6am and headed to the sidewalk just outside the park, to check on the fledgling. Maybe she’d flown off. By the time I arrived, some vendors were already setting up for the market. And, there, on the ground, looking quiet anxious and frightened, was the little fledgling, pacing along the sidewalk. She was fluttering her wings, but wasn’t quiet ready for take off.
I scooped up the fledgling and set her up on the grassy knoll, in the park, above the sidewalk. Then I scaled the wall and guarded her all morning. There were dogs, kids, joggers, an entire volunteer staff placing mulch around the trees and even a very large wheel-barrel with a tire that could have crush the little bird, had it not been for me charging toward the volunteer exclaiming, “Stop!” I had to move the fledgling out of harms way several times, making sure Mama bird could see and hear her baby.
Eventually the fledgling followed her mother to a little corner of the park, away from all the ruckus. Ah, I could take a break from guard duty. I looked down for a moment, and when I look up, the fledgling was gone. I combed the sidewalk below. Had she fallen again? Nothing. I looked in the grass along the pathway. Had a dog snapped her up in the split second I wasn’t watching? I looked and looked and looked. I walked further into the park. I saw adult starlings in the grass trolling for food… and then, in the tall grass, I saw her, my little fledgling, next to her parents. She had flown to this patch of grass in the park! I took a picture (see below), and then, my little fledgling flew right up into a tree, before my very eyes! My heart soared along with her. My little fledgling had fledged!
Fledgling following Mama Bird just before take off!
You may spend time “on the ground” as you grow, change and strive to reach your goals. It can be a scary place. Like the little fledging, you might feel anxious, as everything looks so big! Problems may feel insurmountable. But, this “grounded” fledgling phase is a very important time. Just like a fledgling, your “wings” are getting stronger and your “feathers getting longer.” Just like a fledgling, you are learning, watching and waiting until the right time to take flight. You may receive some assistance along the way. Accept it. Be grateful for it. Don’t let that big “wheel” on the wheel-barrel run you over!
When you feel grounded, use that time to grow! Allow your “wings” to get stronger, “flutter” (aka practice) until one day….soon…you are soaring above it all and seeing the world from a bird’s eye view!
You will fledged. Give it time. Just like the little starling fledgling, you, too, will fly!
Would you like to learn more about birds and how you can help and protect them? CLICK HERE.