Excuse the terrible picture – it’s hard to make a parking lot look scenic. I came across this mama bird (I think it’s a plover?) about a month ago when I went to the gym. This shows you how often I go to the gym.
It was trying to nestle it’s feathery bum into the hard grey stones in the Wanderers Planet Fitness parking lot and cheeping like crazy at anyone who came within a three metre radius of it. At first I thought it was injured. But it turns out it was just laying its eggs.
Now you can be mean about Joburg’s natural attributes all you want, but it does have some beautiful trees. And some majestic gardens. This mama bird could have chosen any one of the beautiful homes in Melrose to bring up her babies, but she didn’t for some reason. She chose a parking lot where her nest would be surrounded by car fumes and honking horns and sweaty steriod freaks and lots of noise.
I think it’s that incredible instinct that is making her difficult to forget. I can’t get her out of my mind. She wants to reproduce, and it doesn’t matter where she does it, whether it’s a beautiful leafy tree or some hard grey stones, she just does her best. Kind of like all us mamas do. We take our circumstances and we feather our nests and we try and take care of our babies with every breath that we have. They may not be ideal circumstances, but that doesn’t stop us. Who can forget that women who gave birth in a tree during a flood? It was the opposite of easy but she did it and both mother and baby survived.
So I was really touched when I returned to gym a month later (I do OTHER exercise okay?) and found that some lovely considerate people had extended tape around the mama bird to give her some space and try and make her chosen spot a little more comfy. They’d even laid out a bowl of water for her because she will not leave her nest and the poor thing needs to drink. Amidst all the terrible things that have happened in our country this year, some people had cared enough about a little bird. And that meant something to me.
The other thing that touched me was her spirit and her determination to defend her eggs, whatever the cost. I mean, she’s tiny. I’m big. But that didn’t stop her cheeping with indignation and anger when I took a step closer to take her photograph, defending her nest with all that she had, even from an “enemy” much bigger and stronger than her.
Nature has made us all that way. Mothers can do incredible things for their children if the situation demands it. It’s miraculous actually.
So in a few weeks time, when I return to the gym, I hope she’s still there. Nature can be cruel and I just want her story to be a happy one. I’ll keep you posted.