A little hen mother

I’ve been wondering what my 300th post on WordPress would be. Sure I have 23 drafts, waiting to be finished, thrown away or just edited. It should have been one of them, but I actually wanted a sunshine post to be my 300th! This morning, coming down the gravel road, from the pre-school, on my way home to rest, I noticed a pheasant mother run across the busy highway, that I was about to enter. I needed to make a right turn, but I slowed down to a standstill, to see what was going on because behind her, was a little brood of babies. She ran like a maniac over the road, like they always do, which always makes my husband ask me if we should have pheasant for dinner. Or I just shout out, “look, there’s dinner!”

Through the years, I ‘ve managed not to hit one of them though. I wouldn’t know how to cook a pheasant, nor could I eat something that I had killed! They are such pretty birds, even if the mother is not as pretty as the father. This is really pheasant country, around here, and for the life of me, I don’t know why they always have to run across the roads? Why not fly? Much safer! But this time, I understood why the mother ran, because these babies can not have been very old, nor capable of flying. So I sat there, in order to see what the babies were going to do, and the mother. She had disappeared in the high grass and in to the ditch, on the other side of the highway, and I silently wondered if she had even noticed that her babies were not right behind her, as planned. I did not have my window down, so I don’t know if she communicated with them at all BUT I saw the babies starting to run out behind her, halt and then run back to my side of the road. And they stood there, waiting, probably being scared, and suddenly this car roars by. They are supposed to drive 70 kilometers max, but it used to be a 90 road, and most people have continued to drive that speed, after the change. Those babies would have been flattened had they run out on the road. But somehow they felt that they should stay where they were and I stayed where I was, in order not to kill one by mistake. Good thing no parent was behind me, in a hurry to get to work.

Then another car was approaching fast, and I wondered if the babies would stay put? They had been apart from their mummy for a long time by now. They were good babies and stayed put. Finally there was silence, the mother appeared on the other side, out of the tall grass, and I could see the first little brave baby venturing over the road. Then came another brave little one and finally two of them ran right behind each other, to join the rest of the family. It was such a beautiful sight and it stayed with me all day. I was so happy they all got over safely and were not killed there in front of my eyes. I waited an extra minute, before I dared to turn, in case a little coward had waited for his mother to come fetch him. But I could tell that the mother had all her babies with her now, because they all ran together in to the tall grass and the ditch! (I wish I had taken a photo, but I was too engrossed in what I was watching! This one is from the internet. Makes me wonder, if the mother I saw, had lost part of her brood to road accidents? There was only four of them!)

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The whole scene so much reminded me of myself. Last time this scenario played out, was at Legoland, two weeks ago. I ran over the trafficated road, to get to the ticket booth queues, as quickly as possible. I thought the children had stayed with their dad, who always takes forever to get the pram out of the car and putting in the few necessary things we need to come with us. He always have to put on a hat, have a drink, eat a snack… I just don’t have the patience for it! But then I heard that the children were behind me, trapped  on the other side of the road, alone, with a now red light. So I called out “stay”, lifting my hand like all mothers do, to signal “stay put” and then when the light turned green, I called “run”. The alternative is to go fetch the child of course, but for the most part, it is safer to watch traffic with one eye, so noone drives against red light, because then you have to stop them somehow,  and  with the other eye keep an eye on the child, so it moves quickly and safely across the road. Complete bird behaviour, isn’t it? I did what the pheasant mother did this morning at Legoland! I guess that’s were hen mother comes from?

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