Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Nest

a small bird's nest in a maple tree near Lake Waban
colored pencil
This is the time of year, where I live, that bird's nests become visible. The leaves are off the trees and each Autumn rain and clarifying Winter cold spell serve to make the branches more stark. Additions like nests become visible and can be seen high and low, casual and definite.
It is remarkable how sturdy they are. In this case, grasses and mud are the primary materials. It is snugged down into the fork of a small maple tree. The rains will slowly wash it away but fragments may remain on into next spring.

I think the hanging gauzy nests of the Northern Oriole are the most impressive. The nest is a kind of sac that hangs pendulum-like. It is merely "woven" from stems and blades of grass and is about eight inches long, maybe longer. The babies fledge in July I guess, and the nest is abandoned having served its purpose. But there it may swing and twist through the winter gales and ice storms of February. This is another promise of Orioles and Summer warmth to return.

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