This year on Mother’s Day, our eldest son arrived with a large hanging flower basket he bought from someone who’d set up a display on Highway 99E a little north of the town of Corvallis. He’d been hiking and running in the woods near there and was on his way home when the display caught his eye. The man had stuffed just about every plant imaginable into his baskets — the one we have contains petunias sprawling in all directions, geraniums, verbena, and several other flowers, some of which we’ve never seen before. We have the basket hanging on a stand by the sliding door that leads from our dining area to the backyard. Because it’s so densely planted, the basket needs to be watered daily, although rain has taken up some of this agreeable burden. For the past two weeks or so, the watering process has become a quiet and careful early-morning ritual, because a pair of juncos decided to build a nest in the basket. The first time I watered after the nest was finished and occupied, the female climbed out of her well hidden recess and looked at me several seconds before it flew up to a nearby birch branch. After that, she quickly got used to the idea. I always speak to her first to let her know I’m there, then very slowly add the water, enough to saturate the roots and drip out from the bottom of the basket. I looked into the nest once when she happened to be away. There were four tiny eggs, which started hatching two mornings ago. Now both male and female are flitting to and from the nest with food. From what we’ve read, the birds will need their nest for about two more weeks. This is the second junco nest we’ve had in the backyard this year. The first was on the ground under a peony near the back wall of the garage. It might even have been the same pair. A treat it was to see the family out for the first time, hopping through the lush rain-fed grass, off on their way to life in the wild.
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Categories: A Few More Scratches