Just this week, the bird house nearest the pergola has taken on tenants for a short term lease. The last "renters" were house wrens who left a disheveled nest when they departed, littered with bits of shell. But now Carolina chickadees have moved in, reclaiming what was once a chickadee house in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I adore wrens, but I am excited about the chickadee nest that will be left behind as a landlord's payment. These nests are lovely, silk-soft and filled with kitty hair which I put outside after brushing Buddha and Erb. Last year, I felt fortunate to have flycatchers residing in the house by the back door, constructing a nest with beautiful moss woven into it. I can't imagine where they found that.
Soon I will hear peeping coming from the houses and strict warnings from the branches above to keep my distance. So I will sit on the deck and quietly watch the parents make endless trips bringing food to the babies. By early summer it will be time to clean out the houses once again to make room for the next happy couples who will raise the next generations to sing and flit about the yard to the delights of Buddha and Erb as they watch from the windows. And I will document this year's group in an accordion folded booklet I have made, proof that while there was still land to be found for the wildlife on this barrier island, they were here.
"Only the birds are able to throw off their shadow. The shadow always stays behind on the earth. Our imagination flies. We are its shadow on the earth."