Saturday, May 05, 2012

A Tiny Nature’s Haven

Last week I began working to prune an Amur maple that had grown as a multiple stem tree and had overgrown the area in which it had been planted.  The two secondary main stems needed to be removed, and it needed to be deadwooded and cleaned and headed back from the three walls and roof.  As I began approaching the tree I found a baby rabbit in the enclosed bed looking up at me from the foot of the trunk of the Amur maple.

Then, as I began working in the tree I discovered a robin and her nest in one of the boughs to be removed.  She was quite upset.  She squeaked loudly and continually, which is an odd sound for a robin.  Then she began swooping at my head, but without actually making contact.  I warned her not to do this as I did not want to hurt her and I did not want to knock her baby and unhatched egg to the ground.  The baby appeared to have been hatched that day, perhaps only hours earlier.  I kept telling her that I was aware of her nest and that I would be careful not to destroy it.  But she continued squeaking and squeaking.  I kept assuring her that I would not hurt her babies and that I would move her nest to a new and safe location in the tree and that if she is a good momma that she will return to care for her babies.

Finally I changed my tone from apologetic to a firm and direct address, saying, “Listen, I know that you can understand me as the Lord can make my words understood to you, so listen.  I will not hurt your babies.  I will move the nest to a safe location and if you are a good mamma, you will return to take care of them.”  After this she stood on the roof looking at me for a few moments and then flew away.  I was able to relocate the nest to a safe place in the remaining tree branches and she returned to care for her baby and egg.

As I worked on the ground removing the two secondary mains,  I was very much startled when a momma duck suddenly took flight as I was working.  Her nest was in the corner behind me.  After she flew off, making quite a startling flutter, I saw her nest with six or seven eggs.  I was careful as I felled and dragged the large branches so as not to disturb her nest, nor the robin’s nest.  Momma Duck also returned to her eggs after I finished working in that little alcove.

Both mommas returned to their precious ones shortly after I cleared my equipment and branches from the alcove.  I was still working in the same area of the yard when they returned.  Momma robin returned to her nest and sat overlooking the front lawn.  Momma Duck flew back, landed in the grass and paced a bit, looking over her shoulder at me for a few minutes, and then flew back to her nest.

Such little adventures add considerably to the time required to do my work, yet I receive a sense of satisfaction and joy when I am able to save the little families from destruction.  I have moved other nests in the past, too.  If at least one of the eggs has already hatched, the rate of success is much higher.  It also helps when the nest can be kept in the same tree.  But even when it must be moved to another tree, if the babies have hatched so that they make some noise, sometimes the momma finds them and resumes her motherly care for them.  This baby was so newly hatched that it did not even make any noises.  But Momma Robin did find her babies.

Anyway, I thought that I would share this little bit of joyous success that I enjoyed this past week.

+ + +

No comments: