Springwatch and maternal terror

nest box outdoors 011

Nest box might be empty but my nest will soon be full!

The programme Springwatch is wonderful. But sometimes I struggle to watch it if there are too many babies dying.

It’s a maternal thing. My emotions hurt like hell when I witness any kind of cruelty to youngsters whatever species.

I noticed this vulnerability; this great gaping Achilles heel that horror could so easily penetrate, after I had the children.

I’d been quite brave up until then, strong, independent, assertive and able to cope. I think being in charge of a powerful horse had something to do with that. He was certainly my first taste of responsibility for another being. And the first taste of that vulnerability to hurt because of it. (For a post about him click here)

But that was nothing compared to the vulnerability to panic and weakness I felt with little ones around. Even though I bluffed it, inside I felt like a snivelling wretch who wanted to crumple and cry. But you have to brave it out as a mum, then your kids know how to brave it out too when required.

I remember one occasion at the top of a church tower. It was an open day and we’d gone up to admire the view. But the only view my youngest was interested in was the one she got by hanging her head over the edge. Completely fine with heights up until that point I suddenly experienced the most nauseating sense of vertigo, panic, cold sweats and downright terror. Not only that, my vagina started to throb. Yes – I know that’s peculiar – but that’s what happened! It took all my strength to act normal, gather the little people together and descend with some dignity if that’s possible with legs that had just turned to cheese strings and a throbbing in between!

So if there’s anything horrid happening on Springwatch, I switch channels until it’s over.

Yep – it’s cowardly, but when you have it for real why subject yourself to added misery?

We have it for real in our own garden at the moment. We’ve had two sets of babies in our two nest boxes. The Blue tits were successful and after a frenzy of feeding they disappeared over night – I like to think they flew.

But the sparrows weren’t so lucky. One lot made a nest in the box we’d put up to stop them building under the tiles. Another set of parents had rebelled against our attempts to cement up the hole under the tiles and built a nest precariously on an edge where the hole had been.

They all hatched and dedicated feeding went on. In fact they were so busy I felt like an intruder in our own garden. But one day as I carefully walked past I looked up and saw a naked infant hanging by the neck in the fork of the roses! And it was still alive. We fetched the ladder, managed to rescue it and popped it back in the box. Then retreated to watch from inside.

But, in horror we realised that, going by where the nestling was hanging, we’d clearly put it back in the wrong nest!

Sometimes, you just can’t help!

We think the box babies perished – I hate to think it was our fault. But there’s still one determined set of parents feeding the babies in the precarious nest under the tiles. I shall be well relieved when they’re safely fledged and my maternal hormones can settle back down to normal.

Although that’s unlikely to happen this week as my own fledged nestlings will be back in the house for a while. But maybe mothering them will help stop my maternal fretting over what’s going on in the garden!

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4 thoughts on “Springwatch and maternal terror

  1. I was devastated when on last year’s Springwatch all the baby Kingfisher’s were drowned. I couldn’t believe it! So much effort to keep the babies alive and I was so full of hope – I can’t bring myself to watch it this year! I’m in denial of how cruel nature can be!

  2. We had a nest of robins in our hedgerow last year. It was great seeing the parents fly on with food and we looked forward to seeing the chicks. However we came home one day to baby robin bits all over the garden – a cat had got to them. Devastating, and our kids still talk about it. So I know exactly how you feel!

    • That’s always such a sad part of the natural cycle – we’ve had the same. Great for talking and learning about the circle of life for the children though! Thanks so much for coming and commenting! x

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