Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life's not fair

Two weeks ago my wife and I were thrilled when we noticed a robin was building her nest in a Firethorn shrub outside my daughter’s bedroom window. My oldest son planted that bush with my wife about 15 years ago. Over the years we’ve watched it slowly grow up the side of the house.

One of our favorite jokes was that Firethorn would deter a child from sneaking in or out the window. Now I was thinking that those thorns would help protect the robin and her eggs.

For about a week we watched the robin carry small branches to be used in building her nest. It was slowly taking shape among the evergreen leaves and needled branches.

You can imagine my delight when on Saturday I noticed a brightly blue colored egg lying in the middle of her nest. Being a photojournalist always in search of producing a documentary, I had set up an EOS MK II Ds on a tripod with a remote release to capture pictures of the egg, and hopefully, the whole life cycle from the hatching to the robin caring for her young baby bird.

While the robin was away, I removed the window screen and clipped away a few branches to get a better view of the nest. Afterwards, I replaced the screen; switched my 70-200mm f2.8 from auto focus to manual and zoomed onto the nest.
I placed the camera in a corner near the closet very carefully as to not disturb the robin.
Knowing that if she saw any sudden movement or heard any sounds she’d most likely abandoned the nest.

After hearing the robin landing upon the window screen I slowly creep into the room to start taking pictures. Since, my camera was already pre-focused, I used a remote to trigger the shutter and captured a few pictures of the robin as she gently settled onto the nest to warm her egg.

However, not all stories have happy endings.
When I checked back a day later, the egg was missing and the robin was gone from her nest. I was hoping that I was mistaken.

While searching among the ferns below the bush and then finally up in the branches of the Firethorn, I found the egg, skewered by those same prickly thorns that I hoped would keep her safe in her nest.  Life’s not fair I thought, being cheated of some promising photos. Throughout the years’ I’ve used that same phase over and over again to my children when life didn’t go the way they wanted.