In a flutter of wings, four fledgling Carolina
Wrens darted from the nest today.
On this blustery April morn, perhaps it was too soon
To leave the security of their moss-lined home.
Yet as wind and fate decided, their cared-for
Days abruptly ended when the lid to the old
Wooden birdhouse suddenly fell away.
Parent Wrens, summer residents of the Shore,
Were desperate to find their missing offspring.
Mother Wren jumped branch-to-branch,
Chirping in the leafy canopy of a nearby hedge.
Mister Wren hopped along the fence-top,
His tail twitching as he churtled, canting his head
While he listened for tiny frightened squeaks.
Determined to find her lost chicks,
Mom Wren picked her way along the bottom of the fence,
Hopping expectantly into large grass clumps,
And fully circled the gnarled roots of the neighbor’s
Dogwood tree. Chirping, fluffing in the wind,
She methodically called for her new-sprung babes,
Their brown plumes ruffled, anxious for the security
Of their grass-woven nest and bits of tasty bugs.
By mid-day, dad and mom Wren feared the worst.
Their four fledglings had scattered with the ocean
Gusts beyond their parents’ plaintive calls.
Uneasy hours passed with furtive low swoops
Hedge to fence to Dogwood tree and back again.
The wayward juveniles could be anywhere,
Out-warbled by a cacophony of backyard birds,
Concealed in waving sea grass or perched in prickly
Shrubs that guarded the single window to my room.
For certain they have much to learn about
The ever-expanding world that ends forbiddingly
Where the roaring ocean defends its sloping shore.
Will they survive the next few days and like their
Parents make a home among salt-wood marshes?
Or from these hard lessons will their white-streaked
Eyes seek higher, safer ground in nearby stands
Of pines flanked by thorny thickets?
Whatever their migratory hearts decide,
They are welcome in my world,
Flitting past my shoulder, scolding me as I trespass
By our gift to them, a new cedar birdhouse.
Based on an unfortunate mishap with our Wren family.