Protecting our young…


We moved down to the coast at the beginning of this year to be closer to nature. Quite a big move if you take into account that we were living and working in the GDP hotspot of our nation Gauteng.

Upon arrival at our new destination, we were amazed at how huge the Outeniqua Mountains really are, they are majestic! We also REALLY enjoy the fact that the beach is a mere 15min drive from our doorstep, and the quaint little towns that dot the Garden Route is a very relaxing and pretty sight.

After successfully unpacking boxes and hanging of curtains, we started to familiarize ourselves with the new wildlife that is in abundance in our new town/city… We have an owl that sits on the neighbours roof at night, we have small birds that frequents our lawn during the day, but best of all: we have a Crowned Plover family which decided to lay 2 eggs on the lawn at our front door!

This is a first for us! We admired the mother and father protecting their nest at all cost. Come sunshine rain or wind, they’ll be there guarding it, keeping a watchful eye over their little speckled eggs. We’ve been watching them for a week or three now, anticipating the arrival of their young. To no avail unfortunately, and as my wife pointed out yesterday: Come on already, it’s been like 9 months and still no chic!

Then, miraculously this morning, a small teeny weeny little excuse for a feathery little two legged creature appeared from underneath the mother bird! This is the smallest little thing you’ve ever seen!

Now, we’ve been very respectful in keeping our distance from the nest for quite some time now. Navigating through the garage to enter and exit our own property. Steering clear of the over-protective parent birds, screaming and shouting and chasing us away from their most prized possession. The father bird would dive down kamikaze style if you would just venture anywhere near the area where their speckled eggs were lying ominously in the grass. Lawnmowers weren’t even scaring them off!

Then this morning, I had to take a peek, I wanted to see. And they let me…

What an awesome gesture of these birds allowing me, top of the food chain, close to their newly hatched little ball of feathers. It was almost like I was part of their family now. Not like the weird uncle who always curses and drinks too much at weddings, but more like the rich uncle who lives far away but pays the school fees or university fees without the kids knowing.

I thought to myself:

Isn’t this exactly what us humans do? Protect and scream and shout and chase threatening individuals away from our young. We care for them, we feed them, we dress them, we teach them, but we also showcase them to the whole world. We are proud of our children. We want others to congratulate us on how well we’ve raised our kids. We want our kids to be happy, to be safe, and to be loved.

I feel sorry for June Steenkamp. I read in the newspapers that she left the court when they showed Oscar Pistorius in blood drenched shorts. The blood of her daughter Reeva was upsetting to her. I understand this, it must be terrible for her.

 I also read that Oscars father is not really part of this whole process. This whole thing is just sad and confusing… Parents of the deceased fighting the tragedy of losing their child, and another child sitting in court without his parents there to support him…

I am grateful that I can still hug my children, and tell them that I love them. Yes, I worry, and I hope they will be okay for the rest of their lives. Yes I know that someday they too will leave the nest to venture out into the unknown to experience the wonder that is life. Have I given them enough encouragement, and skills, and support, and preparation to go out there and enjoy life? I hope so.  Life is short man, but it takes a long time to realize it…

I am hoping that the neighbour’s cat leave the little plover alone, and rather catch some other bird. This little plover is at my front door for crying out loud, I feel kind of responsible for also helping it’s parents to protect it, and care for it in my non-bird way. Why? I am reasoning that if we all respect all living things, maybe, just maybe this world might be a better place for our own young to have the ride of their lives!


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