Birds gauge season by day length; when the length crosses a certain time, the birds undergo physiological changes for breeding purposes. Females usually choose males, and males court the females. The males show their suitability with bright plumage, food they bring to the females, and through song and bird calls.
In April a bird built her nest on our windowsill. It was a sparse little nest, some twigs and an occasional piece of trash the bird had picked up here and there. After she lay her eggs she was absent for a little
while and then came back to stay. Birds sit on their eggs in order to keep them warm; sometimes males sit as well.
I’m not sure what type of bird she was, though she might have been a swallow. She was beautiful. She had small shining eyes and a still face. Her body was small, violet, and fat, with a few blue and black stripes down her side. She possessed a soft and feminine quality.
One day the bird had a bulge protruding from her wing. It inflated and deflated rhythmically and looked like an organic part of her body. It was the newly hatched! The bird was still sitting on them, but the next day she was gone.
The remaining babies were ugly things, black and yellow, fuzzy and shapeless. Their bodies retained the strange pumping motion. They were huddled in little balls, blind and featherless. It takes songbirds about a week to gain their sight and start growing their feathers, and their weight shoots up as well..
The mother didn’t reappear, at least that I could see, and I didn’t look outside for a few more weeks. By then the mother, chicks, and nest had all gone.