One of the most rewarding natural experiences I have ever had was the summer after I graduated high school. In the spring, a bird had built her nest under my parents’ second story deck. If I got right down on my knees and cupped my hands over the gap between the boards, I could look down on the little nest. I only discovered the nest when I noticed one of the cats staring intently through the gap. I had weeks of satisfaction from this. I saw the eggs not long after they were laid. I checked them daily to see if they hatched. Then I watched birds grow and eventually fly away. The whole nest of babies made it and it was bittersweet to see them go. The next year, the mother returned and laid eggs. One of the cats caught her not long after. I cried. That bird had brought me so much joy.
I lived with an ex for six months in a house that had been empty for over a year due to foreclosure. We bought it and I moved in and worked on it while he worked a full-time job. In the spring, birds took over. We had some living in our chimney. We had three nests built under the porch. I was brimming with excitement. I was going to get to see eggs hatch again! My ex hated the birds. He threatened to the kill the ones in our chimney almost daily. I fought with him and fought with him. While he was gone all week, those birds kept me company. It was my first time being alone without even a cat and it was comforting to know that SOMETHING else was there. Then there was a horrible storm and every single next was destroyed. The babies in the chimney had hatched by then and I found them dead in the yard, except for one that I wanted to take care of but he wouldn’t let me.
The past couple of weeks, we’ve had a grackle swooping a little too low over our front porch while we’ve been out there. Today I saw her swoop out of the top of one of my pine trees and I noticed for the first time the chorus of little baby bird voices. I could just barely make out the movement in the tree. We have a nest! We have babies! I cannot see them but I am so glad that they are here! (And this time I don’t have an angry boy or an outside cat to ruin it.)