Nest Watching: The Best From Our Nest
Do you remember the last time you discovered a nest building project taking place in your own backyard? For me there’s something stunning about it, something almost reverent. As I watch the anticipating parents glide through the morning air carrying treasures to add to their new one bedroom apartment, I feel that for some reason, sweet mother nature is granting me the privilege of quietly being part of a miracle. It is quite something to observe a perfect nest building, egg laying, bird hatching, worm feeding, successful flight training, nest emptying experience. But in reality, what I usually end up viewing does not resemble the “From Nest to Wing” diagram out of my ornithology book. No two nest watching experiences are alike. Some bring me sadness, while others bring me joy. Some just make me angry—like hearing the sudden squawk of a frantic mama bird perched in the shade tree outside my window and knowing just what kind of furry four-footed creature is sneaking about during flight school—scat!
No matter how the drama unfolds though, the real miracle for me is that each time I have the privilege of nest watching I learn something or I feel something—something simple, something big, something serious, or simply something that makes my insides smile, but alway something that seems to be just for me. Maybe that’s because I’m a nest builder too. We all are.
Just outside our kitchen window is a big old apple tree. In the tree hangs a large red birdhouse. It was a father and son scout project years ago. It’s been mended many times by the father part of the team. One year it blew apart in the wind. The next year my husband cleaned out past nesting materials, nailed the bottom back on, repainted it with a fresh coat of bright red paint and secured it to the tree. He wanted to make sure that our yearly bird visitors had a better experience during the coming season. Over the years it’s been the starter home for several batches of starlings. Through the nesting season I stand in my kitchen doing the kitcheny things moms and grandmoms do and I watch as Mr. and Mrs. Starling wear themselves to a frazzle. I watch them feather the nest, keep those eggs warm, search out and bring home worm after worm after worm, and conduct flying lessons, all the while keeping the neighbor’s cat at bay. By the time they all abandon the nest for the season the babies look pretty perky, but the parents look incredibly haggard. On hard days I stare out the thin sheet of glass that separates my world from theirs and I think, Me too, little birds! I’m tired too! And they seem to whisper back, Yes, we’ve certainly given it our all—that’s what starlings do, and that’s what you’re doing too.
One evening several years ago my daughter pointed out a nest building project taking place in the flowering pear tree next to her front porch. The very next day there were three blue eggs in the nest with a mother robin perched on top.
Great excitement ensued. There were photos taken. My grandchildren invited any and all to come and see, giving hushed instruction—shhh, just look. Although there is no color more beautiful than robin-egg blue and few things as wonderful as anticipating new baby birds, for me the real wonder of this nest watching experience occurred in darkness, when most observers were tucked in bed and the three blue eggs hid in the shadow of the mother bird’s wings. During the night there was a tremendous wind. It took shingles off roofs and carried away pieces of siding from homes. It blew away the blossoms from every tree. But that mother robin was not going anywhere! The grandchildren, filled with concern, checked on her throughout the night and to their amazement, no amount of opposition was going to cause her to leave her post. She was immovable! I thought about her resolutely sitting on that nest, and I learned something. I felt something. Me too. Oh God, please help me be like this faithful feathered creature. Help me have the courage and energy to keep my post, to see my mothering through. Please help me to hang on when it feels dark and things seem to be flying apart. Please give me the vision of what can be.
I believe I can speak for The Mama Birds when I say that we honor all women who have taken on the divine but often dirty, joyful but often tearful, rewarding but mostly rugged work of nest building. We honor you and we want you to know that we know that God honors you. Our Heavenly Father is aware of every windy night you stay perched on that nest and every worm you bring home to hungry mouths. He knows! We also believe that all our children, yours and mine, are in His hands, in His nest, and under His loving, capable wing.
The great thing about nest watching is taking away something that will bless me as I build my own nest, tend my little birds, and learn to trust the Lord with the flight capabilities of the ones who are all grown up. The desire of the six Mama Birds is to share the best from our nest with you. Mind you, we do not plan on sharing perfection from our nest. We are just ordinary moms who have taken on the extraordinary task of helping Heavenly Father raise His kids. Our hope is that you will find joy, inspiration, new ideas, and perhaps a new recipe or two as you visit this site and do a little nest watching yourselves. Welcome!