Friday, May 29, 2015

LIFE! Happening in a shrub near you!

At left is a robin sitting on the nest which she happens to have built in a shrub near my porch. The back portion of the shrub has died from winterkill; I was annoyed until I realized the nest was right there, and I could look in from my porch chair and see it.

Mama robin was skittish at first, leaving the nest at any sign of movement on the porch, and scolding me loudly from the middle of the front walk. Eventually, we both adjusted: she grew more tolerant of local humans, and I learned to move slowly and to speak soothingly to her.

Last night, when I arrived home from work, Mama was missing -- and I panicked, because I had seen an opossum crossing the lawn the night before. But peeking into the nest, I saw three tiny beaks upraised, waiting for dinner! Three downy babies had hatched!

So I retreated to my chair, and throughout the evening had the pleasure of watching Mama, Papa, or both, feeding their new babies. Worms seemed plentiful, because fortunately we had just had rain. Back and forth, back and forth went the adult robins, returning to the nest and distributing food. Once the brood was fed, Mama settled back down and kept them warm.

And I realized: there's a lot here we take for granted. Snow melts, the sun returns, the earth warms, and life begins to unfold again, as new leaves emerge and new babies hatch or are born to every species. In spring, the time of fecundity, there is new life in every bush. I was there at the right time, and was able to watch.

But we can't take it for granted. Worse climate-change news emerges daily. If we want to be able to enjoy spring birdsong, we'd better takes steps to make sure it can endure.

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