Chapter 5 – Eggs – April 2023
Tali motioned for her younger siblings to come quietly to where she was standing; she'd found a bird's nest with three little blue eggs in the hedge at the side of the yard. She put her finger to her lips to remind them to be quiet as they came nearer. Tali put her hands under LJ's armpits and lifted the little boy so he could see.
LJ peeked at the nest first, "Ooh, eggs! Dey baby?" Just as he spoke a screeching sound could be heard from the tree a few feet away from the children. Tali dropped her little brother to the ground making sure he was still on his feet and ready to run.
She looked at the tree and spotted the angry robin, "I think we'd better move away from the nest for now. Momma robin is not happy." As she spoke a brown streak came at the kids; they ducked and ran away from the hedge.
"I didn't get to see the nest," Beth complained. "I want to see the eggs too." Her twin nodded agreement.
"Maybe later, when Anthony gets home, you three can sneak back out and see if the mother bird is off the nest again. Right now she's not too happy that we were near her nest. She might try to chase us away and we could get hurt."
"Okay, Tali," Riv sighed. "Promise?"
"Yeah," her big sister replied. "If we are nice and try not to bother the mother bird, maybe we can watch for the babies to hatch. That would be so cool to see the baby birds in the nest."
Several days later, Tali took the twins out to see the nest and eggs. She'd researched how long it took robins' eggs to hatch with Abba and they'd estimated that the eggs would hatch about ten days after she first found the nest. Rivka wanted to touch the nest and eggs, but Tali warned her little sister about the mother robin getting angry. She also reminded all of her younger siblings that if they wanted a chance to see baby birds, they needed to be careful around the nest and leave it be.
Nine days after Tali found the eggs, Anthony came running inside from the backyard calling for his sisters and brother. "I saw a baby bird!" he called out. "And it looks as though another egg is hatching!" The five kids ran out to the deck with their Ima right behind them.
"Remember to approach the nest slowly in case the mother bird is there or watching nearby," she reminded the excited children. "I would suggest only two or three at a time as well."
"Okay, Ima," Tali replied. "I'll take the twins and you can take the boys." Riv and Beth followed their big sister to the hedge. They peeked at the nest; inside was a baby bird that appeared to have hatched several hours ago and a newly hatched baby bird that was still wet.
"Look, Tali!" Beth pointed to the third egg. There was a small chip missing from the shell. "It's hatching!"
Tali looked at the egg, "Let's give Ima and the boys a chance to see." She heard a sound from the tree and saw the mother robin watching them. "I think we need to leave," she said quietly. "Momma bird is watching from the tree." She led her sisters to the deck and pointed out the mother robin to her Ima.
"One egg is just starting to hatch and there are two baby birds in the nest," Tali told the three who hadn't seen the latest developments. "The momma is watching from the tree."
Ziva led her sons to the nest; they were fascinated with the baby birds. She held LJ so he could see and he tried to lean to touch the nest. "We do not touch, LJ," she reminded the toddler.
Anthony was watching the egg that was in the process of hatching. "Look, Ima; the crack is bigger and I see the baby bird inside," he pointed excitedly to the egg. "I wonder how long it will take."
Ziva remembered the information Tony and Tali found on the website about birds in northern Virginia, "I think the website mentioned that the full hatch takes about eighteen to twenty four hours."
"Oh," Anthony had really hoped that he could watch the whole process.
"We will check on the babies again tomorrow, motek."
Ziva saw the mother bird move in her peripheral vision. "I think we should leave the nest area now." She pushed Anthony along and kept a firm hold on her youngest. Even so, the annoyed robin swooped at the three DiNozzos. Ziva ducked as the bird flew over her head; she also instinctively protected LJ's face and head with her hand. Anthony ran to the deck.
"That was close, Ima!" Riv had watched the whole dive-bombing attack from the safety of the deck. "The bird almost got in your hair."
Ziva led the kids inside, "I think we should stay away from the nest for the remainder of today. We can check on the babies again tomorrow."
"Momma instinct strong, huh?" Tony grinned at her from the window near the sliding door.
Ziva put LJ down and kissed her husband, "You are home early. Are you talking about the bird or me with the mother instinct?"
He grinned, "Both… you know me too well." He pulled her to him and kissed her again. "I'm not complaining; I love how you watch out for our kids."