Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Like Clockwork

As always, the ospreys departed on Monday without saying goodbye.
After the massacre of 2015, we are grateful for the chance to see the season out, to know that this year's crop of babies survived and flew south on September 12 -- same day, every year.
Which is amazing considering there is always one baby who hangs around the nest (and now the perch), who seems reluctant to flying around the river with its siblings and parents, and this year, it seemed worse. There was one bird who hardly left the nest or the perch for any length of time and in fact, just last week, another bird brought in a fish for it.
How on earth can a young osprey learn to fend for itself on the long flight south -- to North Carolina or Texas or even South America -- if it's not fishing?
And yet this straggler was gone by evening on September 12 which is the day they always leave. Like clockwork. Like a dog knowing it's five o'clock and time for supper. How do they know? Why that day instead of the next or the day before?
I truly thought this bird might be the one who lingers too long, because it seemed so attached to its living space, yet there it was -- gone -- before sunset on Monday.
Perhaps this is the reality we aren't privy to: this young osprey won't make it, won't survive the migration, because it didn't learn to take care of itself. Maybe this is the way nature works, this is how the weak are weeded out. Only the strong, the confident and the powerful survive. Reminds me that until July 25, there was a third baby in the nest yet we have no idea how it disappeared. It's better, not knowing, not witnessing, not defending, not saving in vain.
I'm kinda glad we never know what happens to the babies born here every year.

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