Since the weather has warmed up, we have been doing a lot of yard work outdoors. Most of the property was overgrown for over a decade and it’s been a huge task of trimming, pruning, and clearing. My parents have been coming nearly every week and thanks to their hard work, things are really taking shape! It has been amazing to see the transformation. We have discovered so many little treasurers throughout the property. The more we work, the more we are able to uncover what it must have looked like years ago. As I was describing the yard to my sister, she said it reminded her of The Secret Garden. It totally does…except there is no crying crippled boy locked up in a room. But in many ways, spending time working in the yard is therapeutic. It is mentally healing to be outside in nature and bringing order to the chaos. I just love it.
The past few days, I have made it my mission to trim the pine trees by the side and front of the house. I bought myself a brand new handsaw from a garage sale for $2 (since Israel doesn’t like me using the chainsaw) and I’ve been sawing away at the pines. In the process, I’ve discovered 3 new bird nests! Israel found one the other day, of all places, in our trailer. So, the boys and I have been observing 4 nests and watching their progress from day to day. We also enjoy watching and hearing the different species of birds that come to our feeders. I seriously feel like we live at a bird sanctuary. They are just everywhere so it probably isn’t safe to stand under any of our trees. 🙂
The first robin babies we saw (and I wrote a blog about), ended up being a heart breaker. A couple days after hatching, the 3 chicks were gone. It was very sad. The nest was just too exposed and close to the ground. The nests we are following now are in much better locations so we’re more hopeful.
To incorporate this as part of school, I’m having Manu and Micah make a nest observation picture journal. I’m also trying to tie in as many object lessons as I can think of. It is such an amazing experience and in the boys’ minds, I want it to be associated with spiritual and practical lessons that they will never forget.
Bird Nest #1:
Israel found a red-winged black bird’s nest in the closet of our trailer, Bonnie. When this mama bird was searching for a nesting place, she found a bonanza. Literally.
There she is flying out of the door of her nest – the hole for the power cord. It leads into a closet in the trailer.
This is an enormous nest. She decided to take advantage of all the room.
5 precious eggs that are in a super-safe place. Predators don’t have a chance as long as we keep the doors closed. Only dilemma is whether these baby birds will fledge before we need to take the trailer to campmeeting! We are hoping they will hatch tout-suite and get this party started.
Bird Nest #2:
As I was sawing off a fairly large branch of a tree, I heard really loud flapping and it scared me. I jumped away from the noise, and then I saw a mourning dove hopping around with its wing extended. It totally looked injured, and for a minute I thought it was. It was very convincing. Until I had a thought that it must have babies nearby! As much as I know how stressed that bird was, it was exciting to see a “broken-wing feign” live. As I looked around the tree, I was in for a treat. Two fairly large mourning dove chicks were sitting in a nest right above my head. I knew they would be fledging soon. They could barely fit in the nest.
Today when we went to check on them, they were gone. The nest was empty except for a ton of droppings. I think I can say with confidence that they have fledged!
Bird Nest #3:
While I was trimming the trees where the doves were, I discovered that there were metal wires wrapped around each of them. From the looks of it, you can tell it had been years because the trunk had tried to grow around the wire. It was totally choking the trees! I had to pry them open with pliers and it wasn’t an easy task. I was trying to save the last poor tree, when I looked right below the wire and saw a nest with 3 perfect robin eggs in it. Unfortunately, a couple days later, the egg count was down to 2. But today when we checked on them, there was a hatchling in the nest and the second egg was cracked! It was time!
Bird Nest #4:
Yesterday, we discovered this nest. The pine trees by our mailbox were so overgrown so I was trimming the bottom of the trunk when I heard a bird take flight very close to where I was. I looked around, and to my amazement, there was another robin’s nest with 2 eggs and a new hatchling! I’m sure it had hatched that same day. We, once again, had to postpone this trimming mission until after the babies fledge. But, I don’t mind. 🙂
Mama Robin faithfully sitting on her nest.
I’m sure there are dozens of other bird nests in our backyard that we just can’t see. But I’m so thankful that we’ve found these four that are low enough so we can quietly watch from afar. I just can’t imagine how many bird nests, animal homes, and babies are destroyed when entire forests are taken down…especially in the spring. Well, we are looking forward to watching the progress of each bird family as time goes on. So many lessons to be learned. We are praying for special protection on these families.
This post is definitely to be continued…!