Last night Cheepers demonstrated he was ready to be on his own and today I released him. I had a good cry first - not because I was losing my little charge, but rather because I'm an over-protective mom and was thinking about all the things in the backyard, the woods behind our home, and the world in general, that could be harmful to a baby bird. All night long I'd dreamt that someone or something was chasing my little bird and I awoke wondering if I was doing the right thing by letting him go. Of course it was the right thing, but that didn't mean it was an easy thing to do.
I started to feed Cheeper's his breakfast and behold, there was another sign! That nasty little bucket of worms defiling my refrigerator had only one worm left in it. That had to be another sign, right? Cheepers eagerly ingested his breakfast and I took his cage outside to our deck. It might have been my imagination, but I could have sworn I heard the other birds cheering for him to come and join them. I took him out into the backyard, next to my cabin, and opened the cage door. For a couple minutes, he just sat there. I took food bowls out of the cage and placed them under a tree so he could have "something from home". He looked at me and twisted his little head, as if trying to understand what was happening. I said goodbye to him and wished him a happy life. As any good mom would, I told him to be a good bird, to be careful, and to watch out for bullies. I'd taken my camera outside with me and had fully intended to take one last picture. but as if on cue, as I snapped the picture, Cheepers ducked under the cabin and when I downloaded the image, all I saw was dirt and cabin. He was gone.
Many errands kept me out of the house today and that was probably a good thing, otherwise, I might have found it necessary to keep checking on the baby bird. After I arrived home, but before I allowed my dog to go outside, I called to Cheepers to make sure he wasn't still in the backyard. He answered me and I felt secure knowing he had flown to a safe place and was happily chirping along with the other birds. He had moved to a neighbor's tree.
I just went out to check on him a few minutes ago, since night is falling and I'm a little bit worried about him being out there alone. Afterall, it's his first night away from home. I called to him but this time he didn't answer. That's probably a good thing. I hope it means Cheepers is taking his rightful place among God's feathered creatures. It's where he belongs. But if this is the right thing to do, and I do believe it is, then why is my heart aching?