Odd Thoughts: Circle of life takes flight in a Langley back yard

Bob Groeneveld retired as editor of the Langley Advance in 2015 but continues to be a columnist.

One was trying desperately – comically – to find purchase in a mat of cedar twigs, while his/her sibling appeared almost confident atop the adjacent fence… the confidence betrayed by the bit of wobble in the wire to which it tenaciously clung.

This past weekend, the two youngsters became the latest additions to our elite garden pest control corps.

They had just made their first flight out of the bird house that their parents had graciously accepted as their primary abode some time ago.

Mom and dad picked their home from a number of choices we offered when they were house-hunting in preparation for raising a family.

At first we thought they’d go for the red-barn-style cottage in the chestnut tree, just one limb over from where they had started building their own accommodations, taking over a construction project that a woodpecker had started and abandoned nearly a year earlier.

They also showed considerable interest in an A-frame bungalow nestled among a tangle of grape vines, next to a clematis that offers great shade from mid-spring and a beautiful shower of thousands of tiny white flowers in late summer.

But in the end, they picked one of the duplex homes that bracket our garage, one in front (the one they picked this year) and one in back.

It’s not really much to look at – a sort of square wooden box with a round hole drilled into it, and tacked up against a corner, just under the roof. Its mirror image sits at the back of the garage, empty this year, but one or the other often attracts our migrant workers most years, often preferred over some of the upscale properties located in the aforesaid grape arbour and chestnut.

It was fascinating watching the young couple inspect the varied possibilities.

The fascination continued with the little ones. Long before we saw them, we were privy to their conversation – which like that of human babies consisted mostly of strident requests for food, followed by a few moments of gurgling indications of contentment.

But most fascinating is when they emerge – when they make that important decision to fly.

Once upon a time, many years ago now, we found a robin chick huddled on the ground beneath a spruce tree whose branches seemed to attract newlywed robins the way our garage duplex attracts chickadees.

How did he fall out of his nest, from way up there? Was it an accident? Was he pushed? We couldn’t be sure, but we soon learned a likely scenario.

To protect Albert (his hairdo reminded us both of Albert Einstein) from the neighbourhood cats, we placed him in an old hanging basket from the garden shed, lined with some moss and hung as high in the tree as we could reach.

His parents watched out for him there, but he didn’t stay long. Albert, it appears, was quite a precocious little character. The very next day, we saw him perched on the edge of his makeshift home, staring fixedly at the ground, flexing his knees and his nearly featherless wings.

He looked for all the world like a youngster contemplating a refreshing first dive into an inviting but cold swimming hole on the first day of summer.

He made several such false starts, and then, one morning he was gone.

When we think of Albert, even these years later, we express a hope that, like the sibling chickadees in our front yard, he made the plunge successfully and is out there right now, protecting someone’s garden.

Maybe ours.


Just Posted

Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

A Langley-based junior curling team is in Prince Albert, Sask. for the Canadian championships.

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Langley-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered Langley girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

LETTER: Langley/Surrey shortchanged on transit for Vancouver

Funding to get SkyTrain to Langley City could come from not undergrounding Vancouver’s extension.

LETTER: Area letter writer puts Trump government shutdown in perspective

A Maple Ridge letter writer is critical of Hillary Clinton’s comments about the shutdown.

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read