Three years ago, a pair of mourning doves nested in the hanging plant on our front porch. The doves—the parents alternated sitting on the nest and finding food—were rather large. Plus, being inexperienced with nests, I didn’t water the plant lest I disturb this miracle of nature. Needless to say, the plant died, stalks drooping downward, exposing the nest for blue jays or crows to come and steal the eggs. One of the doves sat on our porch railing for a full day, waiting, while my stomach ached.
Two years ago, a robin nested (stupidly, I might say) in our decorative, covered bird feeder right next to our fence, the fence being a favorite highway of squirrels and chipmunks. Knowing this, I was resolute in defending the nest. Upon finding it, I strapped the kids in the car and drove to the local hardware store to buy whatever it was they would say I needed. Armed with various nettings and wires, I trekked back to our home, parked the car in the garage, checked on the eggs, plopped the kids in front of the television, and headed back outside to begin the project as there was no time to waste. But in the thirty seconds I’d been inside, a chipmunk had stolen the eggs, one of which was splattered across our driveway.
Last year, a sparrow nested in the same hanging planter that once sheltered the mourning dove. There were three eggs and we waited and watched with butterflies day after day until one morning we found a baby bird fallen on our driveway just under the planter and no eggs or other baby birds to be found.
This year, another sparrow has come and nested in the planter closest to our front door. At first, Mama Bird was rather protective and each time we exited or entered or, God forbid, stood on our porch, she’d come swooshing through to get us to leave. But now it seems she’s become used to us and merely flies away to perch in the tree if we get too close. I have been watering that plant religiously and now there are six little eggs waiting to hatch. (Actually, one is quite large compared to the others, and also speckled; I’ve since learned this might be a cowbird egg and not good for the nest? If you know, please share.)
I feel that, in a sense, we are working together, Mama Bird and I. Each time I come out with the watering can, she leaves and watches while I take down the planter and her eggs, and water the soil around the nest. I rehang the planter and walk back inside, watching through a window as she returns to sit on her eggs.
This is our fourth straight year with a nest. Life has to win sometime, right?