Where did it go? I screamed. And D was also shocked to not find it there. The nest that we had been watching for the last two weeks was not there. It had disappeared completely with just a trace of a few strands of straw sticking to the branch, on which has stood this lively nest, bustling with activity till that morning. We had reached home late that day and noticed it only after dinner.
Nobody at home seemed to be aware of it, and we were given some lame justifications that it was there even in the evening, may be the birds took the nest to a different place, may be a cat would have attacked, may be some street boys had come in and stole it, the wind would have blown too hard, and so on. None of it made any sense, and tears started rolling down my cheeks.
It was the nest of a pair of sun birds, hanging from a branch of hibiscus plant, just below the window lintel, and in a walk way. There was a remote chance of a cat reaching there as there was no support for it to climb up there. More over if it were a cat it’d be interested only in the bird and may be eggs, but not the entire nest itself. And the other excuses were totally dopey, not needing any considerations at all. There was no litter below, as if it had been carefully removed from its place and cast away. It sure was a human act, for only humans can be so meticulously destructive.
The female bird had built it all the way, while the male had given her company. And she had laid egg(s) too, for she was incubating them day and night. How joyful had I been when I discovered it right on the first day. We had observed it throughout the nest building and now incubating period, I even took notes everyday, religiously. And were waiting for the chicks to come out, I had clandestinely planned to take a day off to sit and see them... but that day never came.
I wept and wept, while D too was very upset and started searching around for any clues, or for the nest itself, if it was lying around somewhere. But there was none. Somehow, this one was so close to our heart... We were as joyful as if it were our own home, and it were our own babies to be born soon. And now, it was gone without a single clue. We hardly had any sleep and even the little naps were full of dreams.
And in the morning, I had got so used to listening to their chirps even before I got out of my bed. I can now make out various bird calls, even without seeing them. I know exactly which bird starts chirping first and which follows next, every morning, though I’d still be in bed and listening. And as soon as I heard the sunbirds’ call we rushed out and saw the female fret about around the branch that held her nest. And the male was there too. They frantically searched around as if the gone nest would reappear again. It made me sadder and more tears rolled down my cheeks. After a few minutes, the male signaled and they both flew off, out of sight. I just hoped that they forget about this and build a new nest again at a safer place and restart their family.
But I was wrong. They didn’t seem to have given up so soon. Through out the morning, they came about together, every few minutes, to check if there was any hope. How can there be any?!
They searched around in the bushes, sat on my bike, searched in other plants nearby, cried to each other... I guessed that they knew it the previous evening itself, and still came back in the morning, because all these days the female used to spend the nights in the nest.
Every time I heard them or saw them, my heart broke... I could so well understand their pain...