Parenting, Egret Style

Parenting, Egret Style

by Wayne Cagle, MEd
Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor

One year, in our neighborhood, there was a migration of egrets who nested in nearly every tree in the area. It was noisy and the streets, as well as cars, were largely covered in “leftovers.” I discovered my trees were occupied as well when I heard a racket above me. The source turned out to be two egrets who appeared engaged in a disagreement.

A few days later, I observed a nest had been created on one of the tree limbs, but no activity was apparent. Over time, I began to find droppings on my sidewalk of snake skeletons, excrement, and Lord knows what else. I saw little heads peering over the nest. Then those heads revealed bodies and were standing on and around the nest. I don’t recall seeing any parent around. I assumed they were out finding food to feed the young ones. Then, one morning I noticed they were gone. By the end of the day, however, they had returned. This routine seemed to occur for several days. At the same time, I noticed a pile of sticks gathering on my lawn. Then, it hit me. The sticks were from the nest.

It would appear that the parent egret was systematically dismantling the nest. For what purpose? I think it was to keep the younglings from returning to the nest. Mom (or whatever the caretaker was) had done her job of raising her kids. She nurtured and fed them, taught them how to fly, and then to hunt for their food. Not having a nest to return to was forcing them to make it on their own.

Sometimes, as parents, we struggle with putting our kids in positions where they may fail. But if a lesson can be learned from nature, it’s that when we have prepared them for independence, they will be okay.

If you would like guidance in parenting, start the conversation.

Live well. Let us help.

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