The real empty nest

It’s so over…


For weeks my backyard in Tropica was afrill with flutters, birds, tweets, flights, hoverings.

Two golden Tanagers decided my piece of the jungle was perfect for their nest. Panza, my cat, stared longingly, for hours, up at a palm frond moving in the breeze.

On a palm tree right next to my pool, a Yucatan Tanager skillfully wove a delicate, hanging nest that looked like this.



All this done with wings and a beak?

Every morning, I sat on my verandah with my coffee and watched the parents fly to and fro.

When I swam in the afternoons the birds stayed away from the nest, watching me from another palm.  Me in the pool was too close for them.  They didn’t want to bring attention to the nest which hung precariously near.

Then one day, tiny peeps sounded from the nest.  The babies got bigger and lifted their grey, fuzzy heads out.  The parents grew bolder with their offsprings’ increasing demand for food.  They would fly and feed them with me watching from the pool below.

The backyard was busy and noisy.  Adult tweets, baby tweets.  Wings fluttering.  There was great concentration and urgency in the air.

Yesterday, it was positively electric.  When I looked up from the pool, there was only one bird left in the nest. The tweeting was hysterical and fraught.  The parents were saying, fly!  Now!  Go!  You gotta go!  Perhaps the birdie wasn’t ready and might have been saying,  I’m scared!  How do I do this?  Menacing puffy grey clouds threatened. The parents wanted their baby bird out, gone before the impending storm.  Out of the nest, into the storm.  The parents’ work was done, they were exhausted and wanted their own lives back.

The next morning the nest was silent.

I was struck by the immediacy of it all.  For weeks, the parents’ sole activity was devotion to their peeps: scouting a location for the nest, building the nest, laying eggs in the nest, hatching the eggs in the nest, feeding the birds in the nest. Their concentration and industry was palpable.

Then, it was all over.  Everyone flew off to their own destinies, never to see each other again.

I feel bereft of that family life I felt in the palm over the pool.  I feel awe.  That’s parenthood in a nutshell, or rather, a bird’s nest.  But at least, if we’re lucky, we get to see our children again and again.

xo Liza

P.S.  Here’s to all the soon to be empty nest parents out there.  Grown and Flown is good website that might be of help.


Hello my lovelies!  Well, this was an August-y post, with the summer days crawling to a slow burn.  Good time to read and get lost.  That’s why I wrote a hazy lazy post today.  I’m reading and watching the wildlife in my own backyard.  What are you doing this August?  Do tell in the comments box below.  Please like or share this post.  And if you haven’t already, enter your email so you won’t miss a thing.



One thought on “The real empty nest

  1. Liza, your description couldn’t have been better of the “urgency” and singleminded dedication of the process of bird parenting. I’ve lived through it, close-up, a couple of times, with nests a few feet from my kitchen bay window also in a palm tree. The day the chicks are deemed ready to fly by the parents is more exciting than witnessing Apple launch a new IPhone. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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