Bird’s Nest

bird nest

I’ve been wishing I would come across an abandoned bird’s nest for a while now. They’re just such marvels, so clever, so sweet–one of my favorite things in nature, and that’s saying a lot. I imagined how I’d display a nest if I had one, how I’d keep it safe from the cats.

Then, the other day I found this one sitting on the coffee table on our back patio.

Just sitting there, right in the middle of the table, as if someone put it there on purpose, all strange and gorgeous. I assumed Erik had found it. And since the table sits under our grape arbor, and a few grape skins were in the nest, I figured the nest had been up in the grape vines, and Erik had discovered it whilst up on the ladder, trying to defend our grapes from sundry critters.

Nope. Erik knew nothing of the nest.

Logic tells me it must have jiggled out of the vines on the arbor — perhaps a rat dislodged it?– and it happened to land face up on the center of the coffee table.

But my heart tells me that it was a present.

I’m particularly fond of this nest because it is made up from pruned materials from our yard. In fact, I think most of it was filched from the greens bin that I let sit on the back patio for far too long this spring.

I see bits of twine from our bean trellis in there, and some grasses which look familiar. That ferny stuff around the perimeter are clippings from this asparagus fern that I’ve been trying to eradicate for fifteen years. (At this point, I admire its persistence so much that I can only bow to it as a respected enemy.) The fern is beautiful in this nest. The soft fluff in the middle may have been sourced from a silk floss tree about a block away.

The grape skins in the nest are interesting. Could be that the birds were eating grapes, but I doubt it. Instead, I imagine a lazy mouse lounging in the nest, sucking on our grapes in luxury and spitting out the skins.

Or the skins may have fallen into the nest once it was already on the coffee table. There is, unfortunately, a rain of grape skins onto our patio every night, as we steadily lose our war with the nocturnal creatures for our grapes. But that is the subject of another post.

Anyone have any guesses about what kind of bird made this nest? The bowl is about 3 inches (7.5 cm) across.

ETA: I’ve been looking at this great page of bird nests–it’s heaven for the bird nest enthusiast. So many types of nests! Wee little eggs! Baby birds! One bird even made its nest in a sweatshirt hanging on a laundry line. (That’ll teach you to bring in your laundry promptly):

And as of now my uneducated guess is that it is the nest of a house finch.

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  1. No idea what kind of bird, but what a beautiful, comfortable looking nest! We found one last week that was basically wattle and daub. It’s amazing what they do with their beaks.

  2. That is an especially beautiful nest! We, too, tend to find only the wattle-and-daub type in our woods, perhaps built by less artistic, but very practical, birds.

    Years ago, we actually bought a shrub to plant in the yard, an azalea, I think. Anyway, it had an orange plastic bit of rope tied around the trunk which the husband left on it after it was planted. One morning, I noticed a bird trying to take the rope, presumably for a nest, but every time the bird took off, the rope would slip from its beak because it was still tied to the shrub. Over and over again, either very determined or somewhat dim-witted. Later that day, I cut the rope and threw it away. No point in aggravating the natives.

  3. Beautiful!
    And thank you for the name “asparagus fern”. We have them here in Portugal, too, but I never knew what they were called. I can confirm, however, that they will be one of the plants that survive the apocalypse… they can’t be killed!

  4. What a beautiful nest and fantastic gift! The story of its materials makes it that much more special. I love bird nests and have a few but none as special as this one.

  5. Thanks for naming the fern. It reminded me of an obscure childhood memory in Kerala, India. My mom once pressed a fern leaf on my arm and it left a white imprint. (much emotion!)
    Some googling later I have now learnt it was a Silver Fern.

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