Parenting is for the Birds

I wasn’t the only Mama up at 4 a.m. with the kids. (Screenshot from my laptop)
Parenting is for the birds.
No, really. It is. Our feathered friends have parenting down to an art and I know this because for the past several weeks, I’ve been straight-up addicted to watching the Decorah Eagles as their lives play out via webcam atop a nest 80 feet in the air in Iowa.
A Facebook friend sent me this link HERE awhile back when the Mama Eagle first dropped an egg. Knowing that Miss C and I are total geeks when it comes to nature-related videos, she thought it’d be something we’d enjoy.
Initially, it was kind of boring: a beautiful bald eagle sitting on three eggs all day.
But then, the more we checked in, the more we got pulled into the drama that goes on in the lives of bald eagles.

Mama and Dad Eagle guarding their three babies. Screenshot from my laptop.
We watched as they prepared their nest. We read some of the information and were able to determine the smaller bird is the Dad and the bigger bird is the Mom.
We watched them sit still in a wind storm, and gasped when they expanded their impressive wings.
Oh, and when those eggs hatched, that was it. 
We were sucked in by a powerful force that can only be created by tiny, fluffy bags of bird bones squawking in the cool Iowa air.
Just like that, this family of birds swooped into our hearts and changed our Internet-viewing habits. Now, we check in every day – multiple times a day – to see what’s going on in their lives.
We’ve watched as Dad Eagle brought back a freshly-killed rabbit. It fed them for days.
The two parents really work as a team. While one is off guarding or hunting, the other is staying behind to keep the little ones warm.
When the two of them are together, they stand on either side of the nest, keeping a lookout and gently nudging their babies back to the center of the nest when needed.
We’ve watched the Mama Eagle clean up after her husband’s shift with the kiddos, picking at the sticks he arranged and making sure they were placed to her liking.
We’ve watched the little ones move around the nest, so clumsy and awkward.

Dad Eagle (I think) feeding the babies fresh fish.
These are just birds. Sometimes, I have to remind myself. I know it’s some anthropomorphism on my part that makes these birds so entertaining to me. After all, these eagles aren’t human!
On the other hand, though, I feel such kinship to them.
Over the weekend, Lola woke up crying from a slight fever and wet diaper. It was at that point in the darkness when it’s either really, really late or really, really early. Not a fun time to be awake.
I changed her pajamas and bedsheets, gave her a water bottle and rocked her back to sleep. Then I returned to my bedroom and stared at the ceiling, too awake to fall asleep again. So I turned on my laptop and checked on my bird friends.
There was Mama Bird. She was fast asleep until I noticed movement under one of her wings. Soon, a little gray, fuzzy head poked out and one of the babies started moving toward the side of the nest.
Mama Eagle opened her eyes and cocked her head to watch this. After taking it in, she bent over and with her beak, softly pulled the little one back under her, adjusting the sticks and fur around her to fully cover the little one.
It was the sweetest thing to see. And the funniest thing to recognize.
Birds. Humans. We’re just doing our best to follow our instincts, aren’t we?
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As I’ve been planning my class for this year’s BlogHer ’11 Conference, and asking others about what they’d be interested in learning from me, I’ve realized there is NO way I can share everything I’d like in a 45-minute class.
So I decided to use BlogHer.com as my platform to share what I know about blogging! Beginning next week, I’m going to start posting a series of entries about a wide range of topics, all based on my 10+ years of experience on this blog as well as the social media work I’ve done with the military.
Best of all, it’s available online and it’s free.
I posted my first entry – an introduction and some background information – and you can read it HERE.
So, if you REALLY enjoy my series on there, spread the love and consider sharing it via Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need to be a member to do so.
But, if you have a BlogHer account, leave comments! And if you don’t have a BlogHer account just yet, consider starting one.
It’s a GREAT site for networking, social media, interesting articles and there are sooooo many topics discussed in the other blogs and forum.  Did I mention it’s free to join, too?
The more bloggers, writers and those interested in the subject we have engaged in the conversation, the more we all learn, right? 🙂