Yesterday, as we left our house to go run errands we were greeted by something unusual. Right in the middle of the road was a young osprey, sitting on the pavement and looking a bit disoriented. He didn't move as we slowed down, but after we stopped he hopped over to the side of the road into a ditch.
Our first thought was that he was injured, mostly because he was on the ground, and because he was holding his wings at a weird angle to his body. We feared he might have a broken wing or wings, so we called several rescue groups who specialize in birds of prey, only to find that they were closed, so we were forced to just leave messages.
We did finally speak to one group who said that if we could get him into a box, they would take him the following morning. We asked how we should do this without injuring ourselves or the osprey, and what to give it overnight besides water...they recommended fish, which is kind of a no brainer when it comes to osprey.
As we debated what to do, I snapped a few pictures, but I did so reluctantly and from a distance. I felt guilty taking pictures of what could be an injured bird that may not make it, but there was a part of me (and Mr. Tide) that felt like this bird was going to be just fine. After finding no visible signs of injury, we thought that perhaps this was just a young osprey who had been brave enough to venture from the nest, and was just getting his sea legs, or wings in this case.
As we observed him from our truck, we saw an adult osprey flying above and this made us think that perhaps he was just the first one daring enough to leave the nest. So we formulated a plan...first we would go buy some fish, and if he was there when we returned we would gather him up in a box and tend to him overnight before taking him to the wildlife refuge. We still weren't completely sure how we would get him in the box, or where we would keep him overnight, since even the garage would likely be too warm, but we would worry about that later.
I also told myself that if he was in fact hurt, I would erase any pictures I had taken, but in my heart I imagined his mother coming to his aide after we left and him being safely back in the nest when we returned.
A little while later we came back, with fish in hand, and we searched and searched but the little osprey was no where to be found. Our daughter had also been by to look while we were gone and saw no signs of him. We looked in the woods, in the ditches, and for any signs of feathers in case the unthinkable had happened while we were gone, but he was gone without a trace...just the way we had hoped he would be.
After doing more reading on the internet when we got home we found lots of pictures of young osprey looking exactly as the one we saw in the road had looked, wings at the same angle and on the ground as they attempted to master the skill of flying. It seems we had just been in the right place at the right time to witness this little osprey's first feathered attempts at flight.
This got me thinking about bravery, and how terrifying it must be to jump from the safety of a nest some 40 feet up in the air. And how thrilling it must be to make that jump, even if it meant having to sit on the side of a road for a little while until someone came to rescue you and help you try again.
In life we have many chances to be brave, to do something others are afraid to do, to venture out of our own nests and risk ending up in a situation that may not at first seem that wise. But if you don't ever find that brave part of your heart and soul, you will miss the amazing things in life, like being able to tell the story of how when you took that first leap of faith you ended up in the road, with a woman and her camera staring straight at you from the window of a big metal thing. And you will certainly never know the feeling of soaring over land and sea to find your own nest and your own supper.
Being brave doesn't mean you'll succeed in everything you try, you may have to try many times, or in different ways before you can master the things you so want in life, but a life that is safe and one where you have to wait until someone pushes you out of the nest seems so much scarier to me.
I hope you take your own brave steps towards whatever it is you fear and want to master...and just know that there will be others who will help you when you fall and need some fresh fish!