My Story Your Story: Behold the birds and birds’ nests

�Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?� Mathew 6:26 KJV

A March windstorm has displaced a good-sized bird�s nest from its lofty, once secure place in the sprawling elm on my front yard. A very strong gust must have toppled it.

Scooping this sturdy abode into my hands and examining it, I concluded that probably a family of robins or cardinals had been the occupants.

Delicately constructed with mostly organic ingredients, this circular one-room home was made with massive blades of dried buffalo grass, a conglomeration of twigs, sticks strands of alfalfa, dried out corn husks, cottonwood leaves and mud.

There�s bird spit sown in everywhere, applied as an adhesive, although, now invisible.

Along with all the natural elements is a mix-match of man-made stuff � litter woven in. Studying the materials of the nest builder, to whom I am by now feeling akin, I marvel at how resourceful and forgiving nature sometimes can be.

There are three dirty swatches of yellow and blue fiberglass insulation � most likely from a construction site�

�a shred of plastic from someone�s grocery sack,

�a tangled mass of human hair, maybe from a women�s hair brush,

�some purple and pink dryer lint,

�and part of a plastic ring from somebody�s six-pack.

There�s a tiredness about the nest � a sublime fatigue that I can�t quite get past. I try to imagine the subtext buried deep within � the goings on from last season�

� enduring endless early March days after a long flight north from southern latitudes�

�building a place to stay in temperatures just above freezing,

�singing breeding songs with the winter flock,

�filling the air with joyous sounds that, as a lubricant, releases winter�s frigid hold and invite spring�s return.

My narrow focus leads me to the porch where I lovingly place the fallen nest, as a war-torn soldier, on an empty plant stand. I don�t think the wind will blow it away here, but I provisionally place a heavy rock in its empty shell � just in case. I�m saving the discarded nest for a time, as I always seem to do.

There�s something deep down inside of me that ponders this pitiful artifact: the forces that built it, the way it withstood nature, the mournful litter strung through it, the life it once bore and at last its fatal fall.

I like to think this nest was a good home for a bird family � a place where one cohesive unit ate together, slept together, rose together, sang together, celebrated together, grew together cried together, loved together, weathered storms together � stayed together. I want to believe it was place of honor and respect.

We can only hope for as much.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula�s columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on Facebook.

2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.

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