We’ve had a pair of robins build their nest on our side porch for the past two years. They like the curve in our downspout as it angles down from our roof. It’s a perfect spot since it’s sheltered from the rain, and from our perspective it’s perfect, too, because we can watch the progress of events from Dave’s studio window. Mama doesn’t get disturbed and we get a ring side seat.
The nest has remained in place since Spring until last week when I got busy with porch cleaning, front and back, knocking down the remnants of mud dauber nests, their progeny having made their way out as evidenced by the holes at the ends of the little tubes. I never discourage them from making their nests since I like watching them form perfect cylinders, just like human potters, with mud and a bit of saliva. Well, of course we humans don’t use spit, but you get my idea. So while I was at the process of tidying I decided it was time for the robin’s nest to go, and I pushed it down with the broom handle. To my surprise, it remained wholey intact, a wonder at the birds’ ability to form such a strong temporary shelter made only of mud and grasses and yet successfully helped to rear two baby robins this year. Stuck in neatly among the dried golden grass swirling in the interior was a perfect black and white feather.
For my painting I looked up images of robin’s eggs in nests to get the color and configuration right since my nest was empty, save for the feather. Babies have long ago flown and I see lots of robins everywhere, as we do all summer and especially in Spring when everyone is busy raising their families. That little feather is like a true feather in their cap, the nest, for having done well yet again this year.
Watercolor on paper
4.5″ X 5.5″