Nest – a pocket-like, usually more or less circular structure of twigs, grass, mud, etc., formed by a bird, often high in a tree, as a place in which to lay and incubate its eggs and rear its young; any protected place used by a bird for these purposes.IMG_5400 I have an fondness for nests, it’s true. I readily admit to getting excited when I see signs of a nest being built in the nooks and crannies of our porch in the spring. I watch and hope that the nests will be strong enough to withstand gusty winds, and that they will be safe from predators. Just think of all the work that goes into building these little temporary homes that will house and protect  families of birds for a season. It’s so interesting to see the intricate craftsmanship of each one; twigs and grasses, and wisps of fluff for some added softness.

IMG_5396Right about the same time that my second son moved out of the house, my husband and I rented a cabin in Hope Valley for the weekend. We noticed this nest perched up on the roof eave and watched all weekend to see if it was empty or if a feathered friend was using it. Sure enough, it was vacant. Before we left to go home, my sweet husband climbed up and brought it safely down for me. An empty nest for this mama who was grieving through her own transition of an empty nest. Thus, the start of a collection ensued.

IMG_5393Here’s a few more. I keep them on the porch on a vintage baker’s rack. I find some of them, and friends and relatives give me ones they find. Look up in the left corner of this photo to see a hummingbird nest given to me by a friend. It’s the size of half a golf ball, and still attached to its branch.

IMG_5395Here’s one from New Mexico that was at my brother, Jim’s house. Look at the dryer sheets that were used in building this little sanctuary! It was discovered while I was visiting, and we carefully took it down and packed it in a box that would then travel home with me in my luggage. Another came home with me from South Bend, Indiana, wrapped up safely and boxed by my Aunt Lois.

IMG_5394 Because each one is fragile and because they’re outside, they may only last on my shelves for a year or two. I usually have between five to eight at one time.

Each one, a work of art. Each one, a temporary home that sheltered and kept a family safe. Each one, a treasure.