Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Question of Faith


The juncos continue to surprize me. Just when I thought we didn't have any nesting in the yard, I saw this little one carrying pieces of clipped grasses to the clothes pin bag which is suspended five feet from the ground. She flew back and forth unconcerned by my nearness.

I only saw the one bird. Where was the mate? The other nests in the yard were maintained by two birds. The next day, I worked in the garden, watching the bag for movement. All was still. I tried to peer in the bag. Something was poking above the grass.

After few more days, I approached even closer. I saw an upright feather. Had the bird abandoned the nest, leaving the feather behind?

Reasoning that the wind was already swaying the bag , I rotated the opening slightly away from the wall. Feathers exploded in my face. I shreiked and ducked as the junco sped to the fence, where she sat ticking like a kitchen timer.

I felt bad. What if my interference caused the mama to abandon her nest? I retreated to a seat some feet away.

Flitting back and forth, she groomed one wing and then the other. She flew to the ground and back to the fence, staying well away from the nest. Weren't those eggs cooling by the minute?

Slowly, I moved to a chair partially screened by sunflowers. After what felt like a very long time she flew to the ground and made her way through grass to a pieris japonica that grows under the bag. In short hops, she reached the top of the bush. From there she flew to the top of the bag and looked all around before disappearing.

Maybe this is a reminder to take things on faith. I saw the nest being built. I saw something, not grass, maybe a feather in the bag, but I had to know for sure there were eggs and a bird on the nest. My insistence on knowing could have ruined the whole hatching.

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