Connecting Coaches, Creatives, & Curious Folks through what's emerging in this moment

With a little help, the Robin was victorious!

In April, I helped a Robin who seemed a little shy of being the sharpest tool in the shed build her nest on my back porch.  She kept trying to get her materials to stick on the top of the support post, but nothing was working.  She brought endless bits of last year’s flower stems to that spot, sat on them, watched them fall, and looked around seeming dumbfounded at the fact it wasn’t working.  She kept trying.  For two days she did this to no avail.  So, I stuck a branch up there for support, wove some of her stems in to give her a foundation, and she went to town.  She built a fine nest for her future family in a day or two and sat proudly in it each day.  When she was away worming, I snapped photos inside the nest to watch her family’s progress.  First one egg, then another.  She never reached the usual number of four, but she diligently sat on and turned over her two prized eggs each day.  I was mostly proud of her and how I’d helped, though a little concerned I’d helped further a gene pool that nature was trying to stop.

One day, she stopped sitting on the nest.  I snapped a photo of the inside and it was empty.  Turns out squirrels love Robin eggs.  I put a bird feeder nearby, which probably alerted those squirrels to this tasty little egg shop.  Why I put that feeder nearby eludes me, since Robins don’t even eat birdseed!  Squirrels, however, LOVE it!  Again, me trying to help became a nuisance!

Robin next remodeled by Mourning Doves!

We left the nest there and watched nature interact with it.  Several other birds and bird couples came to check it out.  There appeared to be a vacancy in our rental unit and word got out.  The couple that seemed most interested was a pair of Mourning Doves.  One would sit on the branch while the other sat in it testing it out.  They came back several times. One day those doves had clearly taken up residence and were doing their thing taking turns sitting endlessly on those eggs.  They were much calmer than the Robin and didn’t need us to close the shades, turn out the lights, or give them any special treatment.  I scared the sitting mate away once, but only because I got too close with my camera!  That’s when I snapped a shot of two white eggs in the nest.

Today, after a little while on that nest with her best beloved nearby at all times, she (or he) started sitting differently, like s/he needed to allow more room for what was happening under her belly.  I studied the dove while eating my lunch and lo and behold, s/he bent her head down and a wee little head poked up towards her and she put her beak down its throat!

In this mad, mad world, with things that don’t make sense, and heart breaking tragedies hitting too close to home of late, it thrills me beyond measure that a little good has come from my needless meddling and that the Mourning Dove community has new life in it today.

Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to share a miracle or two from your world.  I always love your comments!




Comments on: "In the midst of madness, Life goes on" (12)

  1. Oh Helen, I *love* this post! I get so much deep joy from being privy to Nature’s goings on, especially in the bird world. And I can so relate to the help vs. nuisance conundrum! Last year, I tried to “help” a pair of wrens that had nested on our upstairs front porch, and it was just a disaster. So glad your story has a happy ending and that you’re getting to witness the evolution of both this nest and its inhabitants. Thank you for sharing! Much love to you.

    • helenhouse said:

      Thanks, Laura! The way you share with us the goings on at your little farm make it clear you love the crazy and wonderful natural world. Glad you loved the post. You inspire me to remember to pay attention to these things! xo

  2. FreshEncounter said:

    Sometimes self-care can come in the form of focusing on other. All best intentions aside, it can be like balancing on fishing wire. How much is enough? Did the feeder call the squirrel to feed on the eggs? Was the nest building problem for the Robin a hint from nature not to build there? Isn’t it cool knowing mother nature will provide for the Robin all she needs? In the end, was the whole purpose of the events to create a space for the Mourning Dove family or was it created for you? 😉

    • helenhouse said:

      You always give me ‘Fresh!’ and fresh ways to think about things! I love that first line “Sometimes self-care can come in the form of focusing on the other.” So true! Whether that ‘other’ be another person, an animal, a cause, or God/Goddess/All That Is. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and the bigger possibilities if we’re just focused on our own navels. Thanks for your perspective, Fresh!

  3. Hello Beautiful. The miracles really are in the little moments aren’t they? Upon returning from Japan, I’ve been beset with jet lag. Last night, I tried a half an hour of reading (Immunity to Change by Keegan which is a pretty good book). Fell asleep in 15 minutes and slept 8 hours. A small thing, I know and this morning, it feels like a minor miracle.

    Loved reading your story of the Robin, the nest and the Mourning Doves. Thanks for adding a few tears and a major smile to my already miraculous morning. I love you!

    • helenhouse said:

      Sleeping 8 hours when beset with jet lag is NO small thing! Perhaps your own immunity to change gave you full permission to slip into that much needed sleep. 😉 Enjoy your fledgling hawk neighbors! Love you tons

  4. I didn’t know you were a raconteur and an ornith-activist, Helen! I really enjoyed this post, on so many levels. Most of us need more direct experience of nature and this is a great reminder to invite it into our lives. Lots of love, Amy

    • helenhouse said:

      Wow, Amy! I didn’t know I was those things either! These will be my vocabulary words for the day 🙂 It’s funny how I’ve passively watched mourning doves for years, yet never knew some of the key things about them I’ve learned through this close-up view and paying attention. Makes me wonder how much I miss about the people in my life too. Love to you!

  5. Dearest Helen…thanks for sharing this story. What came up for me was a profound lesson I learned in Leadership…helping comes from the ego and service comes from the soul. I will ponder that today. The deepest lessons come from the simplest of places…you have inspired me. Hugs!!!

    • helenhouse said:

      Thanks, Teresa! Great to hear from you 🙂
      Here’s the poem from Leadership that I think is so profound. As clear as this is when I read it, the pull to help or fix is still strong in certain situations. I seek always to serve, yet fail often! Love to you! ~Helen

      A Fixer

      A fixer has the illusion of being causal.
      A server knows he or she is being used
      In the service of something greater,
      essentially unknown.

      We fix something specific.
      We serve always the something:
      wholeness and the mystery of life.

      Fixing and helping are the work of the ego.
      Serving is the work of the soul.

      When you help, you see life as weak.
      When you fix, you see life as broken.
      When you serve, you see life as whole.

      Fixing and helping may cure.
      Serving heals.

      When I help, I feel satisfaction.
      Wen I serve, I feel gratitude.

      Fixing is a form of judgment.
      Serving is a form of connection.

  6. Ah, Ms. Helen … so good to see you writing again. Love how you point out/remind me (us) that miracles abound … we just have to pay attention.

    On last week’s “throw-down” (a bit of writing practice inspiration on my blog) I offered up a quote from Rilke that you might like … kinda relates-ish: “If your everyday life appears to be unworthy subject matter, do not complain to life. Complain to yourself. Lament that you are not poet enough to call up its wealth. For the creative artist there is no poverty – nothing insignificant or unimportant.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

    (yum. sigh.) (methinks you are a poet …) 🙂

    (oh, and semi-related: i would SO love to get you playing w/the weekly ‘throw-down.’ you did “like” my FB page, yez? [ ] i toss out a reminder there every week; methinks you would get some good writing juju by playing along …) xo

    • helenhouse said:

      HI Deb! Thanks you so much for your endless encouragement. To be a poet, the ultimate goal. We shall see! Thanks for the link. Turns out I hadn’t ‘liked’ your page yet, lord knows why. I’ve liked that baby now so we’re good to go. I’ll have to add it to my A-list list so that it shows up too. Love the idea of the throw-down. REALLY love the Rilke quote you shared here. Just exquisite! Thank you! xo

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