So after an amazing little thunderstorm plowed its way through the Row a few nights ago, I felt compelled to check on the Row’s other nesters – my kindred spirits. Walking the yard, I found a little pin-feathered mourning dove, which I scooped up and put in the crook of a pine tree bough, out of the wind and the puppy path. (It’s an old wives’ tale that mother birds will “smell” human touch and abandon handled young; most birds have a terrible sense of smell, and if the baby’s strong enough to chirp and the mom can hear it, she’ll try to keep feeding it, wherever it is.) The swallow nests are tucked up under the greenhouse eaves, so they were all okay, and the pigeons have their comfy barn. I don’t know where the bats roost, or I would have checked on them, too.
Two chipping sparrows have built a nest in a bird feeder I neglected to close tight. The nest is a work of art, lined with twigs, leaves, and brushed-out dog and human hair we put out for them. The 65 mpg gusts had blown the plastic side off the birdfeeder, but the nest inside is so tightly constructed that it kept its shape. A baby was on the ground, though, so I popped him back in the nest.
A peahen, Isetta (formerly Ike) is sitting on eight eggs in the middle of a flower garden, as if we planted it just for her. Another peahen managed to work the grate off a window well and has at least 3 eggs in it now. Two more hens are nesting somewhere out in the pasture grass. In bad weather, the hens hunker down around their eggs, tuck their heads to avoid the worst of the rain, wind or hail, and sit tight. Even in the most driving thunderstorm, I doubt the eggs even get damp. So Isetta was wet but fine, and window well hen’s nest is safe under an eave on the most protected side of the house.
One interesting facet of powerful genetic nestiness is a reluctance to leave home. My friend G and I are hitting the road next week for a meditation retreat in Colorado. And though I adore road trips, and though flying off means evolution & adventure, it also means leaving the nest. So I’m comforting myself by remembering that Ray is as much a nester as I am and will tend things with great love & care, and by imagining all the amazing Rocky Mountain treasures I’ll find, to work into the nooks & crannies of our Big Nest on the prairie.