The Nest (tf)

A bird has decided to do her child rearing at our house. On top of a vent off the back of the house to be more precise. A few weeks ago we noticed the beginnings of a nest. A few sticks starting to form a circle. We never caught her in the act of building (I wonder if she worked nights?), but she was at it constantly obviously, and the nest grew into, well, a nest. A perfect, deep, thick nest….expertly placed to handle wind and rain, and free from the hot sun. A marvel of engineering actually. How they do it I’ll never know. Send me into the woods to build a nest and the end result would be a lot less pleasing to the eye. Not to mention uninhabitable.

This past weekend she moved her eggs over. And so her vigil began. We have the perfect view from the back porch. She’s quite regal looking. Sometimes she sits with her beak in the air, like royalty. Other times, she’ll bury herself face first in the nest, so all we can see is her bird butt. I hope she’s not mooning us.

But she’s a bit bossy. I can tell by the look in her eye that she’s got some Hitchcock potential. She hates when the kids intrude on her privacy by playing in the yard, for instance. She’ll leave in a huff. I try to explain to her that I need to cut the grass and I’ll be out of her way directly, but she doesn’t want to hear it. And heaven forbid we fire up the grill. She acts like we’re trying to burn her out.

She’s making me feel terrible….the cheeky little bugger.

I’m not up on bird birthing, so I’m not sure how long she’s gonna be here. She’s made the nest so deep that we can’t see the eggs on the bottom, so I’ve no idea how many she’s sitting on. I’m also unclear if the father bird has any roll in this. I’m guessing his job is over and he’s moved on to have more fun, but there’s a part of me thinking he’s sitting in a nearby tree ready to dive-bomb if I make any sudden moves on his family.

She’s become part of the family, actually. I check on her at least 10 times a day. Sometimes the nest is empty. But mostly, she’s there. Early in the mornings. At night when it’s growing dark. Just sitting. Waiting. Sometimes she’ll notice me looking at her and give a quick blink. Her way of saying, “you again?” Mostly I spy undetected….marveling at the scene……marveling at her motherly instincts. Where do they come from? How many millions of years has this scene been played out? A mother, nurturing her young. It’s ingrained. Like being born and knowing how to breathe.

She’d peck my eyeballs out if I messed with her kids. I don’t plan too. I’m going to let my grass grow high and I’m telling my kids to play in the front yard and we’re calling off the barbecue’s until her and her family are settled.

Then I’m going to inspect that nest and see how she built it without going to Home Depot.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on May 25, 2011.

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