Maureen Larkin Wright - Welcome to My Little Corner of Virginia

A small Carolina wren

Dear Family,

There is a tall bistro table and two chairs on the small corner porch on the NE side of my house. It is my favorite outdoor place to read or work Sudoku puzzles or, more often, just commune with nature. The view from my usual chair shows only green and brown, and while that may sound bland and monotonous, it is both very peaceful and quietly exciting. So many different kinds of leaves, so many varying shades of green interspersed with the brown of tree trunks and limbs. Even the brown tree barks are different colors. This porch and chair provides a marvelous place to unclutter the mind, to close ones eyes and simply enjoy the ever-changing symphony of nature sounds.

Recently I moved two bird feeders from their shepherd-hook hanging places located too far away from the kitchen window to see the birds clearly. They now hang on the north edge of the porch along with the hummingbird feeder. The hummers are accustomed to me will come and cavort with me whenever I go out, even when I sit only a foot or so from their feeder. The other birds have not become used to my close presence yet and will wait to eat until I move farther from their feeders.

Awhile back, I bought an aluminum framed tripod camping stool to carry and use during extended walking events, like Arts in the Park. Instead of returning the stool to the shed after its last use, I set it, folded up, on the porch against the house. A few weeks ago, I observed a flurry of activity centered around the campstool. A small bird, or perhaps two, was very busy bringing in all manner of natural debris--dried pine needles, twigs, leaf fragments, moss--and building a nest. Now this nest is only two feet from my knees when Im sitting in the chair and only a couple of feet from the sliding glass door that I always use to enter and exit the house. Dumb little critters, I thought, for choosing such a place to build a nest. I figured it would take less than two weeks for the frequent in-and-out activity of both Votan and myself to convince the birds they had chosen an unlikely site for their nest, and would abandon it.

I was wrong.

Recently while I sat out there out there after dinner, I watched discrete, almost subversive activity as the birds carried bits of something into the nest. Back and forth they went. The nest has a side opening, as is typical of wren nests, so I could not see what was going on inside. Last night I peeked into the nest and saw three little babies, but they really were not all that new. They were fully feathered. Perhaps there are more babies farther back in the nest. And all this time they had been silent, no chirping or tweeting, never giving a hint of their beingness. 

Last evening was wonderfully funny. Often there are seeds on the seat of my chair that have been scattered from the overhead bird feeder. Usually I just brush them off the seat onto the porch floor where the birds (or squirrels) retrieve them later. Last night I simply sat on the seeds and opened my book. Suddenly both bird parents flew straight from the nest right at or to me. One bird gently grazed my bare leg and the other flew straight into my lap. I could have picked it up but decided not to lest it frighten the bird. They were trying to chase me out of the chair to get to the seeds. It worked! I got got up and then sat on the porch steps to watch while they carried the coveted seeds to their babies in the nest. Gutsy little rascals!

Perhaps I'll go out earlier this evening to see what happens.

Till later, then,

Love to everyone,
Aunt Maureen
August 12, 2011