Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wings of Joy

"I think they've hatched," my brother writes me from Tokyo last week. "I saw the male taking bugs back to the birdhouse over and over."

During the first week of April, he noticed a shijukara building a nest in the birdhouse his son made last summer. (I looked up the bird. It's called a "Japanese great tit" in English but there's something so oxymoronic about "Japanese great tit" that I prefer to use the Japanese name.) Back and forth it went, for about a week, carrying bits of string and fluff. And then, they stopped seeing the bird. He went online to find out more and read that it takes about 2 weeks for a shijukara egg to hatch. "So I think the due date is around the end of April," he wrote a while earlier.

"It was raining all day yesterday and so there wasn't much bird action, but the chicks must be starving because the male was real busy today. He flies out, gets a whole bunch of food in his beak, and then perches on a branch to the left of the birdhouse. He looks around to make sure no predators are watching, then darts into the house. About 30 seconds later, he pokes his head out of the house, looks around cautiously, and then he's off again looking for more food." Bro's emails are all bird reports.

Thousands of Japanese are still living in shelters. Tens of thousands will have a long year of rebuilding. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, will be affected by the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster for months to come. No one knows where Japan is headed or what the future holds. I'm glad the shijukara couple and their brand new chicks are giving hope and peace and strength (not to mention hours of entertainment) for my brother and his family.

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