Monday, June 30, 2008

FIELD NOTES: I removed the nest, reluctantly and somewhat remorsefully...

The last day of June, 2008

...because this was not the first time the nature of birds has come into question around my house. Last year, I was teaching in a first grade classroom where it is traditional that birds are studied every spring. With little effort, you can fascinate this age group with eggs, nests and especially hatching, so it was with great enthusiasm that each day I told a little story about the progress of my robin’s nest with three….no five!... pale blue eggs. At first I hoped that the eggs would hatch before the end of the school year, but when joy turned to tragedy I hoped their short attention spans would spare me from inquiries or else…..I would have to lie. The nest had been situated in a hanging fern plant on my deck just outside the kitchen window above the sink where I could easily keep up with the comings and goings of the young mother. One day, she did not come with strings of worms draped from her beak and the fuzzy peeping heads with giant gaping mouths stopped popping up. Should I investigate? My plant had not been watered except by random rain. I stepped up on the wicker and wrought-iron bistro chair to take a peek. An apparently un-hatched egg had been vandalized, shell remains of the hatchlings were still strewn about the nest and it smelled of death. Tiny shriveled corpses, their oversized heads and eyeballs dangling, met my eyes. Exposed to attack, set up for abandonment, it had been a poorly situated home. Rather than disposing of the whole plant, pot and all, I extracted the nesting material from the fern like shredded wheat from long hair, buried it, hosed down the hanging plant and left it to recuperate in a corner of the patio. So this year – same plant, same place – different bird (a wren I think, judging by the domed stick nest with a side entrance). My back door is too busy; the poor bird would be kept in constant flicker and me in constant startle – too stressful! I tried to keep the nest intact and set the bundle on the child-sized Time Out bench that I use as a garden decoration and anchor for my mosaic frog and potted parsley. And there it sits – a reminder of our choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment