Monday, September 19, 2011

A TRUE Empty Nest

I've been using the terms "empty nest" and "empty nesters" a lot lately--too much, perhaps; I think it may be getting a little tiresome!--so I thought it was extremely apropos that I found one the other day, a true empty nest, right in my front yard.

I love taking pictures, but my favorite subjects are people (especially members of my family), animals (especially Allie--and now Finny, too!), and athletes playing football and lacrosse (especially my boys, my five all-time favorite athletes). I've never been much of a nature photographer. There is so much beauty in the world God created; however, I don't often think about trying to capture a bee perched on a flower, say, or a caterpillar inching its way across a dewy leaf. I'd much rather get a shot of someone's smile. But a couple of days ago, I was trimming back some ridiculously overgrown bushes in front of our house with electric hedge clippers, and I happened upon this abandoned robin's nest in our wild blueberry bush. It blended in so well with its surroundings that I didn't even see it until I'd come perilously close to destroying it. This empty little nest just struck me as very beautiful, and I was inspired to capture it on film (or on my digital camera's memory card, to be more accurate).

I'm so glad that I didn't decide to do my pruning in the spring, or it could have been disastrous for those robins! I hope they made it. We've had robins building nests near our house every spring since we've lived here, in all different locations, but only once actually got to witness the baby birds leaving the nest, taking their fledgling hops across the grass, and getting their first flying lessons from their mother. Most years, we missed that part--but we did find the blue eggs, hear the hungry peeps of the baby birds, and watch the mother fly endlessly back and forth in her search for worms to feed her young. Robins make such dedicated mothers!

There was only one year that we know of where both mother and babies met with disaster, due to a combination of a nest built too low to the ground and a neighborhood cat on the prowl. But otherwise, I like to believe that when the autumn leaves fell from the trees and we found the empty nests, all of those birdies had managed to make it out okay.

Thinking back, I remembered that in the spring of 2004, there was a robin's nest right on the railing of our deck out back, built underneath the overhanging branches of a big lilac bush that had been planted too close to the deck. I recalled that I'd taken a lot of pictures of those robins that year, so I decided to go back through my digital picture archives and look at them again. I found this wonderful shot of the mother robin standing on our deck railing, getting ready to feed her little peepers.I think this may be the best nature photo I've ever taken. There were a few others from that spring that I believe are worthy of stay tuned for more photos tomorrow, this time of filled nests rather than empty ones.

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