birds nest on top of a pole

Why Bother To Notice Nature?

Why Bother To Notice Nature?

Every spring a pair of ospreys return to the old nest, located at the top of a tall pole a block or two from my house. From my kitchen window I can watch them as they work together to add fresh sticks and new seaweed to their worn out home they left last fall. While sitting outside I can hear their whistle like calls to one another. In the early mornings and late afternoons, I observe how the male brings home a fish for the female who guards unhatched eggs from any predators. In essence, I get to observe up close, how my neighbors, the osprey, live their lives.

Companions for Life

Ospreys mate for life, never growing tired of one another’s company. They also become very fond of their breeding ground and return to the same nest year after year. When I view the home they come back to, I dub it as a dilapidated shack lacking in charm, security and comfort. Most of the twigs and branches that once sat atop the pole have blown away during winter wind storms leaving barely anything that I would find worth coming back to. Never-the-less they come back and sit on their pole letting us know with their high pitched whistles, that they have returned to the neighborhood.  

They do not waste any time putting their home back in order. They spend their days flying around the vicinity picking up materials with which to refurbish their nest. United in effort, they haul branches, twigs and seaweed back to their platform and work these items into place with their claws and beaks. At the end of a long day, they sit together in their tall perch appearing proud and content with the work they have accomplished. 

Once the nest is complete the mating ritual begins. Before copulating, the male sparks the interest of the female with food. He catches a fresh fish, delivers it to her feet and feeds it to her. Romancing her on more than just one summer’s eve will eventually produce the eggs that become their offspring.

Protecting these eggs is a full-time job and one parent is always on call hovering over their precious treasures. Never do they leave the eggs in their nest unattended. No matter the weather; wind, rain or scorching heat, when I look up at the nest, I see the vigilance of these birds. 

Before long, these eggs will hatch and the male’s trip to the river for fish will increase to several times a day. He will have to work harder to feed not only his mate, and himself, but their offspring as well. Once those babies break out of their shells, their non-stop noisy chirps for food will fill the air. 

Then, before the end of September, when the whole family migrates to a warmer climate, the older pair will teach their young ones how to survive. They will give instruction on short and long distance flying, fishing for food and how to dodge predators while soaring high on currents of air. 

My neighbors, the osprey, are hard workers, who never complain. They are not excessively noisy, and keep their home in good shape. Their children are not left unattended and they give them practical training for life. The osprey live harmoniously as a family unit and each season, they live in harmony with their neighborhood. 

Why bother to notice nature? Even birds are worth paying attention to. Their lives can be a lesson to us all.

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