My Dad knowing that I loved bird nests handed me a tiny nest. It was before we knew that he was ill. Right before the world changed for everyone. We were in an envelope then, all safe, and believing… in our small world. We didn’t know we would soon be washed out of the steady place that sunny place that was like an afternoon lit golden after rain. All of that sorrow, of him leaving, has diminished as life lets it do. The less sorrow is no testament to the amount of love felt, but a saving device built into the human spirit…a way to survive. Now when I think of my Dad it is with happiness, and sometimes I even laugh and smile when I remember. So when I was putting away the Christmas ornaments, I saw the hummingbird nest that he gave me. He was very respectful of nature, and was our encyclopedia. If we found a strange bug we knew he would know about it. Out came the microscope, and sure enough the diagnosis was made by Dad who loved so many things about nature.
The nest had been tied by its owner to the fork of the limb. Over and over the strands of dead grass were woven to support the tiny house hanging in a small clearing in the woods; jutting out into the sunshine small and helpless. It was home; haven to such a tiny creature. Such a design of perfection! The leaves and long strands of grass looked as if they had been smashed into a mold and pressed into place. How many pieces did it take to create this tiny masterwork? I’m guessing about five hundred or so! Living out in the country I have found abandoned nest everywhere. Let me see they have been in machinery, a mailbox, a cardboard box, and a small tree in front of the kitchen window. Sometimes even in the birdhouses built just for them. A tall cedar housed a family of cardinals who built a bird nest partly woven with snake-skin. On a tall ladder, I photographed them growing up which didn’t take long at all. One chick was different. Sometimes other birds lay there eggs in a nest were they don’t belong. Things are there and must be cared for even when mistakes happen. The wings fluff out and take care of necessity, food is brought, instinct rules, and the job of growing gets done. The cardinals took care of all the fledglings, even the odd one, until it was finished, and off they flew. I can’t wait for spring to watch the scurry of the birds finding materials to build what they need for just a season. …..Terri O.A.