Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Little architects

Joshua Carp/silive.com

We have a big dense magnolia bush in our backyard. It's great cover for birds' nests. This year, robins took up residence. Their nest was maybe 6 feet off the ground: just low enough so I could peer into it after I saw the adults running a nonstop food shuttle to their babies.

Somehow, the three baby birds left the nest when our two cats were indoors, and the adults left too. Last night, I pried the nest off the branches it was sitting on. I was surprised at how firmly it clung to the wood.

The inside walls, from top to bottom, were coated with a thin layer of smooth mud. The bottom of the nest was covered with an inch or so of down. And the walls themselves were intricately woven of twigs and straw. Just to see how strong it was, I tried to break a good-sized chunk. The nest was so sturdy that just a small piece came off.

I couldn't build anything nearly so neat, strong and functional—and I have hands and a bigger brain than the birds (presumably). I don't know how they do it.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC)
It's amazing, how structurally sound robins' nests are. Cardinals' nests seem to have the loosey-goosey-ist construction.

Maybe they wonder how you can drive a car as well as you do, or teach a class, or write a blog post.
Sep. 2nd, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
Why drive when you can fly?

The ways they prepare their fledglings for life are far superior to what my students and I accomplish.

I'm also certain that their calls to each other are much more profound than anything I write.

I hope that God's creatures have lives that are less anxiety-ridden than human lives, even though for many of them, life is a matter of eat or be eaten—and perpetuating the species, of course.

Sep. 1st, 2015 08:40 pm (UTC)
I once had the opportunity to closely observe a vireo's nest over the course of a couple days--first when the nest was empty, then with one egg in it, and finally with several eggs. It was also a marvel of engineering, though it a different was from your robin's nest. It was built in two layers: an outer one of gray twigs and curling bits of bark, and an inner one of meticulously woven pine needles. The top of the outer layer had been woven around the branches so that the nest hung suspended at the point where one branch forked into two. Here's my photo:

All this is to say that I don't know how they do it either.
Sep. 2nd, 2015 01:24 am (UTC)
Great photo! Thanks for posting it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

March 2017

Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow