Only after I lopped off the oak leaf hydrangea branch, did I spy the exquisite nest neatly tucked into its crook. Aargh. I hated the thought I had destroyed this perfect little nesting opportunity, but there were no eggs in sight and no distress calls from an upset mother bird, so I think the nest had already been abandoned. I hope.
I think this is a red cardinal nest based on what I’ve seen others construct. Let’s look at this little wonder. The outer layer is constructed of shredded oak leaves and stems with bits of bark, catkins, and mulch. And where the eggs would have lain, the nest is softer and lined with grasses. So much painstaking work went into making this perfect little dwelling that I can’t help but marvel at it:
And turning the nest over, I spy something I’ve never seen used before:
Kind of a mess there, Mama Cardinal, but I see you are resourceful. You scooped up some plastic and what’s that I see? Snakeskin?
How in vogue you are, dahlink. I hear all the nests are wearing snakeskin this year!
OK, styling as our little nest might be, I am going to be tiptoeing around that area of the garden for a while. I have adopted a live and let live policy towards our ubiquitous black snake. It’s not so much the snake himself that scares me – it’s how startling his sudden appearance is. No warning, no noise – you just look down and there he is. If only he wore a little bell to warn me of his slithery approach. That seems reasonable, right?
Country people tell me the big black snakes that live around here, which are non-venomous, are good for lots of reasons including keeping mice and copperheads at bay. Still their very presence in the garden is a heartstopper for me.
Even if they do add just that right element of chic to the birds’ nests.
And thanks for reading,