Some years ago, I was saddened when a pair of bullfinches proudly introduced their new young family to the dandelion seed heads along the drive, only for every one of the juveniles, over the next few days, to lose their path and die, flying into windows. The time when birds leave their nest and learn about life is when they are at their most vulnerable, and so it proved. My heart grieved for the parents, who watched and saw and who will have grieved, briefly, too.
Since then the bullfinches have been careful in the nesting season, keeping to the woods far away from human danger, occasionally venturing out to eat weeds and swing from meadowsweet around the ponds. It was a pleasure, this spring, to see their young from time to time nearby briefly, before they returned to the safety of the thickets, and I was able to photograph one of them before she flew away. Next day, I found her body under the kitchen window.
Her brief life had been a happy one, and her death would have been quick and painless, preferable to being taken and stripped with a still-beating heart by a sparrowhawk or infected by disease, but it was another poignant reminder of the precariousness of bird life.
There was nothing I could have done to prevent the accident, but I felt irrational guilt that my home had brought about her end. It happened two days ago and every day since then I watch anxiously as her siblings return to feed, relieved when they move away and out of sight. I do not want to lose another bullfinch family, or any other creature, if I can help it and if it is their wish to live.
Although remembered by me, the young bullfinch will be forgotten by her parents and siblings by now, for nature is pragmatic and accepting of the vagaries of life and death; even if only one juvenile bird survives in a nest, the nest has been successful, and it is likely that the pair of bullfinches of some years ago and of this year will have bred and will breed again, making up for their losses.
Furthermore, just as trees support each other biologically, energetically and spiritually, so too do all the different species of birds and animals that make a place their home. They have a shared soul connection: the hurt of one of their number is known and helped as far as possible by the others, and the death of one of their number is a form of ascension and later reincarnation that strengthens them all.
The bullfinch, so beautiful in her new feathers, who chose to die here in a very specific way, lives on. I wonder if I will see her here again? I believe I will. We never really lose what we love.