This post is about a very simple thing – just an empty bird’s nest that appeared in the front yard of the Manse one recent morning in the wake of a windy autumn night. Presumably it had tumbled out of one of the huge evergreen trees that stand just to the north of our old house, since it was close to them that I spotted it lying on the ground. There were no signs of any birds, adults or babies, distressed or otherwise, in the general vicinity, so one has to hope that the family for whom it was lovingly and carefully constructed had moved on to other climes or quarters.
But the nest’s construction was indeed careful and solid, because it was thoroughly intact upon arrival on the ground. A parent bird – or, I hope, two, since these duties should be shared – had done a fine job of bringing in and weaving together twigs and grasses so that the nestlings might hatch and live safely and comfortably.
I picked up the nest and put it on a small white wooden table that sits on the Manse’s front porch. And then I remembered that many months ago I’d found a robin’s egg on the ground, showing no sign of a live baby robin being inside it; it was nowhere near a tree or a nest that I could see, so I guessed that a predator had picked it up, stolen it and inadvertently dropped it. The robin’s egg was inside the house, so I fetched it and put it in the nest. And the little display looked quite pretty, don’t you think?
Pretty enough that, when Raymond posted his photo of it on Facebook with a message to an artist friend of ours, Nikol Haskova, who’s been playing around with the theme of bird’s nests in her work recently, she responded very enthusiastically. She thought it was downright lovely, and particularly liked the blue thread (a stray piece of plastic twine the builder bird had found), I suspect because it went nicely with the blue of the egg. At any rate, it made me feel rather proud of my little natural-art installation.
If you drive by the Manse these days you can still see the product of the bird’s housebuilding efforts. Alas, though, the robin’s egg is gone; I imagine some hungry varmint stole it in the night. (You never know what creatures might be roaming around the Manse grounds under cover of darkness, though if you guessed “raccoons” I think you’d be right 9.9 times out of 10.) Given that the egg was extremely old, I don’t think the varmint got much good eating out of it. Which serves him right. It’s not every day I get to think, if only fleetingly, that I’ve done something artistic!