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The Hailstorm and the Bird’s Nest

March 16, 2012

We had a hailstorm over a week ago. Whole branches, blossoms, and pine cones were torn off the trees in a five-minute period. My onion tops were shredded, my fruit trees were beaten pretty badly, and, as it turns out, my beet seedlings are toast. This is what my flower bed out front looked like afterward.

Then, several days later, I noticed this tiny bird’s nest in my driveway, almost hidden by pine needles.

The inside diameter of this nest is 1-1/5 inches. Tiny! I marvel at the workmanship and time and artistry that goes into these nests. The inside is lined with coils and coils of some kind of hair — coarse, so I think it’s horse hair. But also mixed in are some strands of monofilament, and shreds (the black ones hanging loosely around the nest) that look like they came from the raveled raw edge of fresh cut carpet. Then around the outside are pine needles, tiny twigs, and straw.

I felt so sad for the little bird who put all her energy into building this exquisite nest, so I have put out some nesting material of beautiful blue and green yarn. This little pile is in close proximity to the bird feeders, so I know they can’t miss it. It’s about the best I can do under the circumstances.

I cut these into short lengths, six inches or less. I hope more than one bird will discover these bits of yarn and use it. It will be fun to keep an eye out for any missing pieces. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to spot them in a nest.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2012 10:57 pm

    I can’t believe how tiny that nest is! But I love what you did with the yarn…your neighborhood birds will have the prettiest nests ever 🙂

  2. March 17, 2012 4:57 am

    I love that you put some yarn out for the birds, I always marvel at their nest making skills.

    • March 20, 2012 9:17 am

      So do I, Kathryn. I feel a little sad when I find one on the ground. A windstorm took out one a month or two ago, which had sat in the top of my maple tree all winter. Now I wish I had photographed that bare tree with just that bird’s nest in it.

  3. March 17, 2012 1:19 pm

    What a lovely thought. Such a tiny nest too. Any idea what sort of bird? I couldn’t resist a pop in today.

    • March 20, 2012 9:15 am

      Myfanwy, I’m so glad to see you and hope you’re doing well. I looked at pictures on the internet of similar nests, but still can’t find what kind of bird could have made it. But we have many, many tiny birds out there. And what is so fascinating is that they have “big” voices sometimes. And then you look up and it’s this teeny tiny bird. I used to be up on bird species, but now need a refresher course.

  4. March 18, 2012 6:53 am

    Martha: In each photo, you have captured the “work” of the two greatest artists of all – God and Mother Nature……In your garden, it looks as those opulent pearls have been scattered; and, the beautiful and yet fragile little nest is where the art of basket weaving began – breath taking! Thank you for sharing

    • March 20, 2012 9:12 am

      Shirley, I so agree that nature is a great teacher. We just have to stop and pay attention.

  5. March 18, 2012 2:07 pm

    I love the idea of giving bits of colorful yarns to young mothers!!Sweet!!! Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

    • March 20, 2012 9:10 am

      Mary Helen, I hope I get to see a nest with a strand or two of it. That would be wonderful!

  6. March 19, 2012 4:57 pm

    That nasty hail can really mess things up in such a hurry.

    You’re so sweet. We like to let the dog fur fly when we do the ol’ brushing. My girlfriend is a naturalist and said they would like that, too. She also mentioned birds tend to make more than one nest – so hopefully she is tucked in a nest in another tree. 🙂

    • March 20, 2012 9:09 am

      That’s such a great idea about the dog hair, Jennifer. I read that they love hair and anything soft that they can use to line the nests. Even human hair, but we don’t have a lot of that to spare! 🙂 I do hope that little bird, whoever she is, has built another nest.

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