[The nest after being moved from the lamp]
[American Robin: Turdus migratorius.]
I’m sure it was a Robin’s nest. Every time Mariam or I would use the front deck entrance (with a screen door that slammed louder than the front gate of Alcatraz), a bird with a rusty breast would scold us from a nearby branch of a long-needle pine.
When we arrived home after our late winter trip overseas, neither of us noticed anything. But one afternoon something caught my eye. It was atop our outdoor light. At first it looked like Rip van Winkle’s hat…leafy, twiggy and crusted with mud. I chanced to pull out our kitchen stool and peaked inside…it was a birds nest, constructed with such engineering skill, it made a beaver dam look like a 6th graders science experiment. I touched nothing, knowing the rules about birds and nests.
Nothing much happened for a few days. No sign of any action. Then on another afternoon, I was in the guest bedroom trying to find a clean flannel shirt for the day (It’s late May, so I get to level down from wool to fleece to flannel.) I looked out at the lamp. A mother Robin was tending the nest! I moved the window shade ever so slightly and she took off to a nearby branch.
We had a family living above our lamp. Life was about to begin on our front porch. For several weeks we watched as the mother sat as still as a dead parrot in a cage. We began to use the back deck for our commerce, avoiding the disturbance of the slamming screen door. Mariam began to take a special interest in the birds welfare…she watched it from afar like a trained ornithologist…which was great to watch…since she, Mariam not the bird, is from Queens.
A few days ago, I was sitting in our living room reading David Copperfield. (I’m on page 260…I have only 469 pages left…that’s good for me, I’ve only been at it for four years) when Mariam walked in and announced that she believed the mother bird abandoned the nest. I thought about it for a few minutes and told her that I thought that the hatchlings had already taken wing. She didn’t think so.
Today, she asked me to take down the nest as it was obviously empty, but she didn’t want to see inside. So I went out and actually had to struggle to move the nest. It was so firmly attached to the lamp that even the stormy weather we’ve had couldn’t possible have budged it.
[The original nest site…pretty good choice I think.]
It was a marvel of…well, nest-making. But I found no signs of egg shells bits.
I believe the family is gone and the fledglings are fine in the parents care. Soon, they too will be fully adult by summers end…and will migrate when the time comes…that time when their internal chemistry tells them it’s time to fly south, something I can relate to.
Watching nature’s cycles unfold from a window is a privilege. This is what living in the North Country offers.
The next major event is black-fly season. I’ll be watching that play out from the screened-in porch, thank you. There are some things in nature I just don’t do…getting my blood sucked by anything with wings is not on my to-do list.