They are gone now. The boys were restless. Yesterday, after watching the two of them wildly fly around the bathroom, we decided it was time to open the window and allow them to live the outdoor sparrow life to which they were born. Sure they had the run of the bathroom. Their cage was never locked. We tried to bring the outdoors in by providing leafy branches for them to sit in and an opportunity to forage for a variety of foods, but it's not the same.
I had anticipated that they would take off immediately, emerging from the window to meet the outside world in glorious flight. That is not exactly how it happened. Frankly, they seemed suspicious of the outdoors once the screen that separated it from them was removed from the window. For a couple of hours, the two of them loitered in the bathroom, looking suspiciously at the opening out of their world. At first, they just skulked about on top of their cage. After a time, they ventured closer to the sink, then over to the window sill.
The next time I went to check on them, Nelson was gone. He always was the braver one. Jimbo took a little longer to go. Upon hearing a chirpy commotion in the bathroom, I went in to check on him and found only an empty cage. I like to think that the commotion was Nelson coming back to lure his brother out.
Whatever happend, it is strange to go into the bathroom now that they're gone. I know I said that I was looking forward to having it back, but it turns out that was not entirely true. It seems empty without them. Their cage still hangs from the wall, filled with half-eaten fruit and seeds. It's like an avian ghost town or a modern day Pompeii littered with seed husks instead of ash.
We've left the window open just in case they can't hack it on the outside (or just want to come home to visit). I know it was the right thing to set them free, but I almost hope that they will decide to make use of it.