For the Birds

This year, out in our corner of suburbia, it is not the “Silent Spring” of Rachel Carson’s time.  Her book, published in 1962, called attention to the effects of chemicals and pesticides in nature and in particular on birds like the Robin.  She was a woman before her time and largely credited with advancing the environmental movement as well as helping to ban DDT.

I have enormous admiration for the works of this woman and she, along with Abigail Adams, is on that cliche list of people I would like to go back in time to meet.  I think of Rachel Carson every morning at 5:00 am.  It seems that our property has become a bird sanctuary and love is in the air if you know what I mean.  I laugh because I am largely to blame for this desirable habitat.  Over the past few years we have made some upgrades to the landscape and if we were to advertise to these feathery friends, our property listing in “Tweeter” would read something like this….

Come see this desirable one acre property located in a quiet neighborhood off the beaten path.  This location boasts several extremely large trees and mature shrubbery ideal for making your home.  Don’t miss out on the not one but two bird baths located on the premises for your bathing enjoyment.  Dine at your choice of blueberry, peach or cherry trees or for a quick snack choose from two or more feeders.  Come join the many that have already made their home here.

Word has gotten out.  We have a nest in every Rhododendron bush.  As I went around pruning this month I enlisted the help of my trusty “nest finder”.  At five this little man has a success record of 100%.  He takes his search and locate mission very seriously.  Once he spots the nest the next step is to determine the status: full or empty.  Most have been empty and so we proceed with the pruning but one Rhododendron boasted a nest with four sleeping baby robins.  These little fuzzy fur balls were nestled in sound asleep but we could watch their little hearts beating a million beats a minute.  What a gift to witness.  We checked back in daily and I am convinced that if we stayed and watched them for a half an hour we would literally be able to watch them grow.  In the course of one week these fuzz balls were out of there nest and hopping around on the bark mulch.  At this point our dog took a sudden interest in the commotion.  After all, she is part Labrador Retriever; a bird dog.  The boys and I helped scoop these little chicks over the invisible fence line to safety.  Once over the line these birds took those cute little half flight half hops to safety egged on by our barking dog.

We are all learning to live together peacefully here on the aviary.  So long as the birds agree to stay out of the house we get the benefit of watching nature unfold right before our eyes.  Even more beautiful when I can sleep through the 5:00 wake up call.