I've just finished constructing a bird's nest with my felting machine, using natural materials like seaweed and raffia, and it was so time-consuming and labor-intensive that I wish I could have approached it with more of birds' instinct-driven cheerful urgency.
When I see an unused one on the ground, I usually snag it, and as a result, I've collected a few over the years. Once in a while, a family member gives me one or two. I'm going to show you a few.
This one, for example, sent to me by my brother-in-law, Deepak Mazumdar, is centered on a smoothly-constructed cup of mud, covered with soft fiber on the inside and rougher grasses and twigs on the outside. It's fragile but surprisingly durable. And how the heck to birds work with mud? Do they carry it up there in little buckets?
The next two reflect genius in the use of available materials. In the first one, the bird has clearly made use of at least one cigarette filter. In the bottom one, the bird has used what looks like shreds of a dirty plastic bag.
|See the cigarette filter?|
|Shreds of plastic bag?|
|So maybe you can't tell, but this creation consists mainly of fishing line and dryer lint.|
In our yard, Joe and I have a house-shaped birdhouse on a post, and in that birdhouse there have lived many generations of house wrens, the adults of which are always tireless in the building and protection of their nest and the feeding of their babies. Their bubbly sound, both cheerful and nervous (you can hear it at this link--http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/house_wren/sounds) twittered forth about once every other minute. But if one of us was ever near their house, instead of twittering volubly, one parent bird would patrol the hemlock hedge next to the birdhouse, scolding and chattering and trying to get us to go away. I did explain that I was sharing my yard with it, and not vice versa, but it didn't help.
Last Sunday I found the birdhouse on the grass and the wrens gone. My theory is that a cat climbed into the hemlock and jumped over to the birdhouse. The house toppled to the ground and the cat ate its contents. This theory was confirmed when I saw a gray cat climbing in the hemlocks, and after neighbors told me that a new neighbor's cat was a mighty hunter.
I'm sorry the birds were gone, but I was anxious to see that nest into which they poured their all, week after week. I unscrewed the back of the birdhouse and found this:
The seaweed won't hold to the wool batting base unless it's held on with wool roving. Here's a look at that process, involving a layer of seaweed held down with wisps of roving. The needles of the felting machine felt the roving to the batting, holding the seaweed down.
And voila: Tender Beginnings.
It's an homage to birds and their homes.