12 April 2020

67. Happy Easter Chicks

In a house on a hill on a farm, there’s a garage. In that garage, there’s a nest in a toolbox.

Next to odds and ends on a dusty high shelf, three speckled eggs are warming. 

The first egg hatched in late March. The nestling got a head start on gobbling caterpillars straight away. He was Greedy.

The second egg hatched at the end of March, it was the middle nestling. The piggy in the middle. Piggy liked to grab every grub she could.

The last to hatch was the runt of the brood, just like Wilbur from ‘Charlotte’s Web’, she was tiny.

On the small side, Tiny emerged from her shell as an April fool and had to fight for every morsel of food.

Three Grey Shrike-thrush chicks began to cheep. One by one they open their eyes and open their beaks.

Twice as large, Greedy and Piggy hogged every moth, dragonfly and white butterfly Mum and Dad brought them. 
They sat on Tiny, squishing her.

It wasn’t very comfortable; there were times when she could barely breathe.

We thought she might not make it, but, where there’s a Tiny there’s a tiny way.  She stuck her neck out as far as it could go to get the goods, to grow and grow beside her older nest-mates. 

The mother and father Grey Shrike-thrush brought food all day, they even took out the trash.

Father brought frogs so large the chicks almost choked on them.

Both parents hunted for bright green bugs and found endless moths in the garden. When they heard them coming, the triplets stretched up high and flapped their wing buds. 

The three baby birds were excited to see food; always quivering in anticipation.

Itchy when the first fluffy down came in to cover their skin; they became twitchier still when they got their first real feathers.

They grew and grew, opening their golden beaks so wide, they looked like spring Daffodils reaching to the sun. 

One warm Easter Morning, Greedy found he was too big for the nest. Every time he stretched his wings, he almost fell out.

Mum said, ‘Come on Greedy, you can do it. Come fly with me.’

And so he did. 

At first, he couldn’t get any lift and plopped down on the garage floor. Then he flapped harder, as hard as he could to make it to the grass beside the driveway.

There he stopped and looked about, panting and puffing. The world looked very big. Greedy’s Dad called from the tree above, and he cheeped back.

‘Peep-peep, Mum, I can fly. Hey, did you see me, Dad?’

And then there were two.


Piggy practised her flapping, fluffing her feathers and doing her stretches. She was almost ready to leave her place in the rivet box on the dusty shelf. Piggy in the middle was itching to join Dad in the blue sky, but not yet.

And Tiny?

She sat tight in her nest of grey bark. Now there was more room she could stay awhile in the space she loved best. To eat grubs until she almost burst and grow just a little bit more.

In fact, Tiny was content to stay home and to sleep the day away without being sat on or squashed.

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