Is There a Patron Saint of Lost Causes?April 10, 2010
I’m a pushover when it comes to animals. If I see one in need, I will help it. I’ve ushered snapping turtles across the road, made a nest for a fledgling robin, and raised butterflies from caterpillars (the latter thanks to my friend Lisa).
Of course, I’ve also screamed like a banshee when snakes and bats have entered our house. But that’s not the point.
The point is, when I see an animal in distress, it bothers me. But this week I discovered that what bothers me even more is seeing an animal doing something completely self-destructive and knowing it will end in disaster. I was filled with anxiety two summers ago when a silly robin built a nest right over our mailbox, close to the street. I was afraid that she would be easily startled by the passing traffic, disturbed by the mailman, etc. You don’t know what relief I felt when I finally heard faint little squeaks coming from the nest and saw two beaks raised in expectation of food.
Then, two days later, they were gone and the nest was on the ground. Probably caught by a cat; possibly a hawk. It didn’t matter. The baby robins were gone and so was their mama.
So, when I noticed another robin (or maybe the same one, I don’t know) building a nest in nearly the same spot last week, I knew it couldn’t be a good outcome. The chosen branch was too low, too near the road/mailbox/driveway. And sure enough, last night — the first cold night we’ve had in a while — I was horrified when we came home to discover the nest lying on the ground near the end of the driveway. Whether wind or predator, something had knocked the nest out of the tree… along with two Tiffany box blue colored eggs. I picked up the largest section of the nest and then, very carefully, the eggs. They were so cold! I put them back in the nest and placed the nest back on the tree branch, even though I knew it was already too late.
I wish I could put up a sign in the tree that says “No nesting allowed!” but since birds don’t read, I don’t think it would do much use. So I guess I’ll just have to protect/help the dumb birds that do build nests there as much as I am able.