All Baby Birds Go to Heaven
Following a recent stroll home from the Brooklyn Promenade, my husband, daughter and I were playing at one of her new favorite pastimes--walking while balancing on various ledges, and helping her jump from one short wall to another . I'd suggested a graduated wall that would allow her to successfully "balance beam" herself down to the end of the block and I walked on a few yards ahead.
All of the sudden something on the wall caught my eye. As I got up close, I could make out the fragile and broken skeleton of a baby bird that had obviously not made it too far out of its nest. My immediate reaction was to stop my 3 1/2 year-old daughter from running into the bird--rather running over the bird. I yelled for her to stop, but she'd just then made it to the section of the wall where it's sorry little body lay. "Mommy, what IS that?" She asked. How should I respond?
Hers was a simple question, with a simple answer, yes, but an answer that would most certainly lead to much more complicated questions with more complicated answers. I didn't have time to mull it over or distract her enough to move onto another topic, so I explained to her it was a baby bird that had accidentally fallen out of its nest and died.
"Where's the birdie's Mommy and Daddy? Are they looking for their baby?" Between my husband and myself, we explained that the bird's parents had probably been out looking for food for the bird, and that they had gone looking for their baby, and that they were very sad it wasn't in their nest. She didn't ask too much more, but when I told her to come away from it, and asked her if she'd like to get back up on the wall and resume her balancing act, she said no, but she did want to look at the bird some more. My husband and I let her look for another moment or so, and she asked once again why it died. I told her it wasn't big enough to fly yet, and it must have died trying. As we continued on, I spotted another baby bird dead on the ground, but took great care not to draw any attention to it. She was quiet for the rest of the walk home.Continued on the next page