June 1, 2009

The Nature of Falling

R first noticed a pile of twigs and grasses on the dock last week and was perplexed about it until he spied a frantic robin shouting at him and building her nest in the branch of the pine tree directly above him.

He pointed it out the next day as we were returning from a boat ride. We thought it was in a precarious position, sort of loose between two branches, but I was hopeful it would hang tight.

We had a couple of days of high winds, and then Sweet P came in from the lake and said the nest had fallen and one blue egg was smashed on the dock. I was very sad for that mama bird. The egg seemed unusually large for a Robin, and R was amazed at how hard the mama worked on building her nest while she was also working on that egg.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the nest is held together with smeared mud and padded with soft grasses. It's really a work of art. We're going to have to create a showcase for all of the nests we've found.

It would have been this Robin's first hatch of the season. According to Wikipedia, the northern Robin builds her first nest in the forked branch of an evergreen, while later broods are hatched in deciduous trees. Wiki offers no explanation for this.

It's good to know she'll have another chance or two to nest with hatchlings this summer.

It's so amazing to live out here with wildlife all around us, but it's also a little bit heartbreaking to see dead wild animals, usually on the side of the road: skunks, frogs, snakes, chipmunks, and something large and unidentifiable I think might have been a Fisher Cat. I'm always worried about the Swallowtails smacking into my car (they seem to be everywhere right now), and Sunday morning R tried to herd a couple of Canadian Geese and three goslings across the road with our car before they could be hit by a car coming from the other direction. It was tricky, but I think they made it to the lake on the other side. I hope they did.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel responsible for protecting these creatures and burdened with the knowledge that it's an impossible task.

Still, I'll be watching for the mama Robin building a new nest in the maple trees.

No comments: