They’re Back

nuthatch nesting

When I was a kid, sitting in school this time of year was torture. Being forced to pay attention to history lessons and math problems felt like punishment. The classroom windows were open and the warm, springtime breeze nudged the corner of my math worksheet. It was beckoning me. “Look outside. It’s a beautiful day. The sky is so blue. Come, run with me.”

I’d stare out the window and admire the blossoms on the apple tree across the street, daydreaming about what it would be like to climb that tree, knowing I could shimmy straight to the top and sniff the flowers on the highest branch.

Thoughts of tree climbing were interrupted by a tap on my shoulder, followed my teacher’s voice. “Eyes on your work, please.” And if too many sets of eyes were focused on the world outside? The teacher closed the drapes. Multiplication was my springtime buzz kill.

Today, I am again that child. The sky is bright blue and the warm breeze wafting in through my office window is practically whispering my name. Several times throughout the day, I have found myself staring outside, watching the tree branches dance on the wind, and each time, I hear a voice in my head say, “Eyes on your work.”

This morning, I noticed new activity in the birdhouse just outside my office window. Renovations are taking place in that house, and I can’t stop watching.

Last spring, a Nuthatch couple nested inside and now they’re back to clean house and rebuild. Each bird has gone in and back out of the house countless times. Upon each exit, they carry out bits of fuzz and grass from the old nest. Some of the material gets tucked into the bark of the tree, some is simply dropped and some is carried back inside.

This simple, little birdhouse that my dad built for me many years ago will draw my attention from my work for many days to come. I will watch the birds finish renovating, then switch from carrying materials out, to taking them in.

Then in great anticipation, I will await the distinct sound of baby birds, calling from their nest and observe as both parents swoop in repeatedly with food for their young. And I will undoubtedly spend a great deal of time leaning out my office window, camera in hand, hoping to zoom in just far enough to catch a glimpse of the hatchlings before they venture toward the outside world and leave the nest.