During the build process there will be days that forever stick out in one's mind. Both good and bad. August 6, 2006, was one of the most incredible for me because I got to experience a small bird take its first flights.
There is a bird nest in the corner of my hangar. It's been there for years, and I've grown accustomed to hearing the quiet, muffled chirps of chicks in the nest. On this particular day, the chirp from one of the chicks was much louder and persistent, to the point of sounding in distress. Every 10 seconds or so I'd hear a single, loud chirp. I stopped what I was doing and tried to home in on the chirping. I looked in the rafters, I looked under work benches, I looked in all the places that a chick would try to hide. Just as I was giving up, I turned around and poof! There it was resting on my work table. He was looking up at me as if to say, "You idiot, what took you so long?"
The chick didn't appear frightened. It just sat there looking up at me. I extended my hand and it jumped up on my hand! I took it over to the carpeted area in front of the bigger doors to it could hopefully reconnect with its mother. I suspected the chick was thirsty, so I put some water into a mixing cup. I dipped my finger in the water and the chick would take the drops from the end of my finger. Getting the idea, the chick sat on the rim of the mixing cup and drank on its own, then dipped its head in the cup as if to take a bird bath.
Knowing it knew what water was, I got up to walk away....and it flew up on my shoulder, then walked to the back of my neck! I put the bird back onto the carpet and tried again to walk away. Well, it FOLLOWED ME! When it got near my Cozy, it flew up and sat on the strake. It stayed on the strake for a good while, even falling asleep for a bit while I worked. Once it got its strength back, it began taking short hops, like flying from one side of the plane to the other, from one clamshell to the other. It seemed to dig the Cozy! Then it started making longer flights between rafters. At one point it flew outside, then came back inside.
This went on for hours! Then finally, at about 4:30 in the afternoon, he flew out the hangar and into a field. I checked on him once or twice until I couldn’t hear the chirping any more. I thanked God for being able to experience one of His amazing wonders.