fear of hatching

Okay, you know I have a bird nest in the corner outside of my office window.

I can only see the nest by opening the window in the exercise room and hanging the upper half of my body out of it (not dangerous at all, really).  I usually do this with my camera, but I still end up taking pictures through the window glass.

Why do I do I bother to take pictures of ordinary eggs in an ordinary nest of an ordinary bird?  Because I have no television (which is fine, I’m not complaining).  And talking to a maybe-sparrow was a nice diversion from working on the book revisions.

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So, while I was writing the last few pages of the revisions last Wednesday, I saw Mrs. Maybe Sparrow suddenly fly past my window in a kind of birdie panic. I ran down the hall, around the corner, into the exercise room, opened the window and leaned out to see what was happening in the nest. I saw an orange-red blob (I’ve been too busy to get the new glasses I need), which meant ACTION IN THE NEST. So I ran back to my office, grabbed the camera, ran back to the exercise room window and took some pictures using the zoom.

Then I returned to the office and immediately uploaded the photos to the computer so I could see the new little baby birds on my giant monitor.

FLASHBACK #1: I am in junior high and my younger brother was, for some reason I don’t remember, hatching chicks in the hall closet. Eggs were in a box, with a special light on them. I came down the stairs one morning, the chicks were hatching, it was a weird, claustrophobic, icky event and I fainted. And I stopped eating eggs.

FLASHBACK #2: I am a senior in high school and one of my part time jobs was working 3 hours, 3 times a week, at the university’s biology lab. I cleaned test tubes, beakers, floors, counters, etc. One Saturday morning I walked into the empty lab and saw the carnage of baby chicks hatching all over the counters. These were not cute fluffy chicks, but deformed experiments that shouldn’t have been allowed to hatch. It looked like a horror movie. Some grad students had screwed up big time. It took me a long time to crack an egg–years, maybe?–and only after a friend explained that the supermarket eggs were “candled” and therefore safe.

FLASHBACK #3: I have been told I am pregnant with son #1. I faint in the doctor’s office, in the waiting room and at the drugstore. I don’t think this is a “hatching” issue, though. Maybe more “shock and awe”. Still…

PRESENT DAY IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER MONITOR: What I saw in the nest looked like a bloody horror show (see flashback #2).

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I got queasy. I decided not to eat lunch. I felt sorry for Mrs. Maybe Sparrow. So sorry. The photos would not go on the blog, there would be no cute baby birdies pics, no chirping little cuties outside my window. Instead there was carnage, just like the summer of ’69. I wished I’d never picked up the “watching nature” habit (damn you, Jeremy Wade and your River Monsters!!!).

Before I went to bed that night, I braved a look outside the window to see how Mrs. Maybe Sparrow had coped. SHE WAS SITTING ON THE NEST!!!.

“Really????” I said to her. “Are you kidding me???”

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This is the look she gives me every time I open the window to check on her.


The next day I decided it was time to google sparrow eggs. Instead of pics of eggs, I saw an image of a hatching sparrow. It was orangy red, featherless and horrible. Just like what I’d seen the day before! Which meant…maybe the chick was normal???

I dared to peek. Sure enough, the nest was filled with red blobs. Hairless red blobs.

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Yesterday they had a little fuzz.

Last night they had beaks.

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Nice tonsils, Junior.

They are still horrible looking, but at least I don’t feel like fainting every time I see them.

No, that’s a lie.  I do feel like fainting every time I see them.  I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach just writing about them.

I volunteered to bring deviled eggs to the band practice potluck tomorrow night.

Bad timing.

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