Friday, May 22, 2009

Bird Chateaux



To adapt a well known saying about Englishmen and their homes, a bird's nest is her castle.  I've been thinking about nest holes, in particular, since early spring.  I started to see them everywhere in trees around that time.  I guess because I was getting ready to put my own human bird box, the Homeless Chateau, outside in the garden –something I finally did today (pix very soon). 

Around here, in the Hudson Valley, nest holes are, I think, mostly made by woodpeckers and squirrels.  That's fine with me, as long as they stay out of the eaves of my house.  Fortunately, the oaks and maples round about seem to suffice.  Comparing my house to those of birds, squirrels and other hole-dwelling creatures, and given humans' apparent excesses as a species, I can't help meditating on that word – that humble, yet efficacious notion – "suffice."

What does it mean to know what you need, and, at the moment you achieve what you need, leave it at that?  To improvise a home in the hollow of a tree or riverbank, or carve one out from scratch, but always – and only – as big as is necessary to safely raise a family and take shelter from the rain and the cold.  The indefatigable logic of nature has it that birds, squirrels and other home-building creatures know when to stop, instinctively.  So, why don't we?

Minimalist birdhouse pic from Birds and Blooms Magazine, and nest hole pic from Wanderin' Weeta.

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