It is time.
Harriett’s zugunruhe has reached a crescendo. Instinct is now in control.
She turns to the Atlantic, faces the off shore breeze, and with outstretched wings lifts off.
As Harriett leaves, she makes note of familiar landmarks:
The Doctor’s giant nest,
The Harker’s Island bridge,
Cape Lookout light,
She has used these landmarks for years, when returning home from South America.
Baby will learn them too.
Harriet and Mr. Raptor will not migrate together. Harriett leaves first and goes to her winter fishing grounds. Mr. Raptor stays behind to continue feeding Baby, while she learns to fish. Several days later, Mr. Raptor will head South, returning to his winter home.
Mr. Raptor bringing a fish to Baby
Zugunruhe is the experience of migratory restlessness.
For birds, the urge to move cannot be contained. Its pull is so intense that a sandpiper’s organs atrophy to accommodate the demands of migration. A caged robin will launch itself northward again and again, hammering against glass walls even if it has no view of the outdoors. There’s no mistaking the signs. Wings fluttering, sleeplessness, disruption of normal activities.
Are you experiencing Zugunruhe?
If you would like to follow Harriett this fall and winter, go to https://ospreytaleteller.com and click on Follow (if you have not already). This will send you the link every time something new is added.