Working Birds

I don’t think of birds as workers. Bees perhaps, “worker bees,” but birds? When I went to close my front door the other morning after walking through it on my way to take my dog for his morning constitutional, I gasped in surprise. There in the small space between the door wreath and the door was an elegant, architectural wonder constructed in a single day and night.

The size of my two hands cupped together, it demonstrated a masterful use of recycled found objects held together by minute repetitive drops of mud.  I noted its construction materials included twigs and grasses, leaves and tiny plant limbs, with a strip of silver tinfoil artistically woven through it all. 

I’m not tall enough to see inside, but later my husband tells me there are no occupants as yet for this home propped up by mine. Realizing that it is the middle of May already my mother worry gets activated. Isn’t it late in the season for building a nest, for starting a family?

Several years ago another bird, or perhaps the same one, made a nest in that very spot. Our wreath must invite such inspiration since, even though its small pink blossoms are made of fabric, its frame is constructed of actual slender tree limbs, wound and wrapped to create a circle. That time, earlier in the season, we were honored to help protect that home leaning for support on our home. While the birds were incubating and during their early bird rearing period, we used another entrance. We placed a sign on the porch column a few feet in front of the door, “Shh, baby birds sleeping.”

On my walk I marvel at this blessing that has arrived on my doorstep. I wonder if this mother bird, being “one of our relations,” as the native people say, knows that my son’s partner is becoming a mother too. And that this house, marked by a bird’s nest on its front door, is also the home of grandparents in the making.

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