Have you noticed how few bird nests are left in the bare trees? In summertime it seems every tree and bush has two or three of the intricately woven mini-masterpieces; guarded by the shrill cry of a blue jay or the flash of a male cardinal. Now, though you only see one occasionally. The canopy of leaves that sheltered the nestlings until they fledged has fallen and autumn winds tear the fragile bits of twigs and grass. Rain turns the robin’s nest to mud revealing the temporary nature of its construction, and the neighborhood is readied for next spring’s builders.
Sometimes a wind storm in the summer dislodges the nest of a chipping sparrow. Small enough to hold in the palm of your hand; it is a perfectly woven wisp of a thing, still holding the imprint of its occupant. Legend has it that if you put a real bird nest on your Christmas tree, it will bring you luck in the year to come. I’ve not really thought about whether that is true or not, but there have always been two or three of the chipper nests among the branches.
I suppose the tall, thick pines around our house offer more protection than the deciduous trees. You will see sparrows and snowbirds perched on the branches now and then. But the pines hide their tenants well and one must walk among them and push the branches apart to see what is hidden inside. Some winters see a few Robins and blue birds sheltering deep in the woods, and with so many folks putting ponds on their land, we have Canada geese flying back and forth overhead all winter.
And, of course the crows have come back. I remember seeing long lines of the big black birds flying to their roosts at twilight with lone sentinels on the tallest trees keeping watch over the flight path. For several years there were no crows about. Perhaps due to the DDT used to kill weeds. Now, they are a familiar sight, pecking about on the ground or walking boldly down the sidewalk.
What was it Solomon said in Ecclesiastes? “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend…” No matter how severe the winter or how hot and stormy the summer, they will always appear in their time. Every sunset has a sunrise and every winter has a spring. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” – Gen. 8:22
And that is a good thing.