The Nest Box

One of the first purchases we made, after moving into our house, was a nest box for the back yard. Much to my disappointment, summer after summer passed with no nests. Then I ran across an article (I can’t remember where) that said birds prefer nest boxes positioned so the entrance faces north. With nothing to lose, we moved our unused nest box. Immediate success.

A pair of chickadees!

I spent many happy hours watching them stuff the nest box with pear petals and moss. But something went wrong and the nest failed. Later, when we cleaned the box, two tiny unhatched eggs made me want to cry.

In subsequent springs, we’ve watched more chickadees build more nests in the box, and all have failed. Only once did we know why. Bumblebees.

Now I’m tempted to take down our nest box, as it seems a source of great disappointment for both the birds and myself. But I suppose the bees need a place to nest, too. Maybe I’ll leave it one more year…

Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers

Early last year, while walking at First Landing State Park, I noticed a small flock of chickadees foraging alongside a pair of downy woodpeckers. The chickadees seemed like amateurs in such practiced company, but all of the birds appeared to enjoy success.

It was the first time I had seen chickadees exhibit this particular foraging technique, and the already beautiful day brightened. The euphoria of my new knowledge followed me home. It lingered for days, sending me back to the Park for another walk much sooner than I might otherwise have gone.

I was able to capture a few seconds with my camera, a fleeting glimpse that words alone would never convey. I find this difficult to admit, as I love words and am reluctant to acknowledge their limits. I find it even more difficult to accept that the moment can never be reproduced or shared in full. How unfair, that time and space conspire to render memory so singular and personal.