Saturday, June 1, 2013

People can  be cruel

A mournful silence envelopes our front yard this morning. My daughter is heartbroken and I'm filled with a fury reserved only for those who see heartbreak and can do nothing to prevent it.
Let's go back and start at the beginning.
A few weeks ago, we came home from work and school to discover that a robin had built her nest on our downspout directly under our roof. To our delight, we realized she had built her nest directly behind our security camera. My daughters we so excited. My husband even turned the camera around so we could watch Mrs. Robin on our TV. It was an exciting time in our house.
Every morning, oldest daughter would wake and the first thing she would do would turn on the TV to check on Mrs. Robin. The littlest daughter would look at the screen and say, "Bird! Bird!" Our "bird" channel would stay on until we left for school in the morning. One of my daughters would turn it on as soon as we got home. It would stay on until after the girls went to bed. We'd keep it on until mom and dad went to bed. We had our very own nature channel and it was so sweet and simple.
One day we set up a ladder in the yard, a distance away, and climbed it to see into the nest. Mrs. Robin had four eggs! Four! That seemed like an incredible amount to us! Usually in pictures you see two or three eggs in a nest, but never four. I'm sure we were as excited as Mrs. Robin. Maybe more so.
We wanted to help Mrs. Robin, so we went to Lowe's for bird food. None of the bags said they were for robins. We called my parents, who are avid gardeners and bird lovers. "What do robins eat?" we asked them.
"Robins? Why robins?"
Apparently, no one ever sets out to deliberately feed robins. I guess we are just rebels that way. We bought a bird feeder and some dehydrated meal worms, because the internet said that robins liked worms. We set up the feeder close to Mrs. Robin's nest, so she could have plenty of food for herself and her babies. Yes, somehow, the robins had become our pets.
And one day . . . they hatched! We came home from work and school to hear tiny cheeping from our nest. We got out the ladder again and saw them! All four eggs had hatched. The babies were so ugly, they were cute. They had no feathers and did not have their eyes opened yet. All of us took turns climbing the ladder and looking at them. It was awesome!
Our nature channel from then on showed Mrs. Robin coming and going and feeding her young. It was so cool and educational. We would watch the babies pop their heads up while Mrs. Robin was out getting food or some alone time. They slowly began to get covered with feathers. Then, they started popping up while Mrs. Robin was in the nest. They were adorable. My oldest daughter was in love. She genuinely cared for Mrs. Robin and her brood.
We had a horrible storm one night, as anyone in the Midwest can attest to. There was thunder and lightning and high winds. We were worried that Mrs. Robin's family might not make it through the night. When we woke the next morning, oldest daughter nervously turned on the television. It seemed that Mrs. Robin had chosen the location well when she built her nest. It was still there, safely tucked under the eaves, and all of the babies were accounted for.
The next day, when we got home from school, a horrible sight met our eyes. The nest was completely gone! We scoured the ground and the yard, but it was nowhere to be found. Someone deliberately knocked it down, and we have no idea why.
It was probably some kid on the way home from school, but we don't know of a motive. What I do know is that oldest daughter cried and cried. Her heart had broken just a little bit. It wasn't just a bird's nest that had been taken or knocked down. Four innocent little lives were taken, too. Someone killed innocent animals that had become our pets because they were bored or showing off to their friends. Or maybe we have a future serial killer on our block.
Unfortunately, the security camera malfunctioned, and we didn't get to see who killed our friends. So we were left helpless and angry. Why? Why hurt those birds? And how did the person get up to it? Our ladder was locked in our garage. The nest was high enough that we couldn't reach it.
It was a sad, sad day.
It made me glare at every person who walks or rides a bike down my street-adult or child. It makes me hate my neighbors and want vengeance. And it makes me just want to know who did it. I am sad because I no longer hear the innocent cheeps in the morning. My daughter is heartbroken. She will never see her friends grow up. And for a while, Mrs. Robin would fly around our yard looking for her babies. And that was heartbreaking, too.
She will probably never build another nest in that spot, because we as human beings have failed her. We were unable to protect her. And we're sorry.