Josna Rege

301. Babysitting

In Family, India, Nature, parenting, seasons, Stories, United States on February 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm
Jamun tree (

Jamun tree (

(from chennaiNature on

(from chennaiNature on

My parents have always loved birds. In India, Mum would look up and identify all the birds that came to feast in our jamun trees when the purple-staining fruit was ripe. After immigrating to the U.S., they always maintained a well-stocked, squirrel-proofed bird-feeder and kept the water fresh in the bird bath. One spring they rescued a baby bird which had fallen out of its nest, keeping it warm overnight and returning it to the base of the tree the next morning, when its parents managed to coax it back up to safety.



In their retirement Mum and Dad have remained avid bird-lovers, keeping binoculars handy for distant hawks and eagles, and checking off in their Massachusetts bird book every new variety that they spot in the garden. Especially in the spring and winter, during the nesting season and the bitter cold, their trips and outings have been seriously curtailed as they have watched anxiously over the eggs and worried about who would refill the feeder if they went out of town.

I remember one spring day in particular when I dropped by to ask my parents if they’d like to accompany me on an errand. They were both a bit agitated, and told me that they couldn’t make any commitments just then because a pair of birds (not being a birder, I can’t remember what kind) had built and laid eggs in a low-hanging nest just under the eaves of their deck, and the eggs had just hatched. They explained that they had been watching over the nest while the parents were out getting food, and on this occasion it had been unattended for some time. With the open fields behind the house, the nestlings were exposed to all sorts of predators, so they couldn’t think of going out.

They were babysitting.


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  1. Beautiful story Josna. Being a bird lover myself I can identify completely with your parents. There’s something wonderful about that kind of compassion for nature.

  2. What a wonderful, sweet story! I can see where you get your own ethic of care and attentiveness to the world.

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