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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Of birds and scientist

Bro. Juniper was explaining to me how bird nests are tiny histories of the local flora, for the birds collect whatever twigs to construct their nests from the local supply, so that the nests collected a century or two ago may contain twigs from trees and shrubs that no longer grow in the area. Most of America has been invaded (or evolved?) with non-native plants since the migration of Europeans, so a nest collected in the mid-1700s may have twigs of trees that have since disappeared, well perhaps disappear is too mysterious of a term, for there is no mystery, the pioneers felled the trees to "clear" the land, to make room for farming. So while these hardy pioneers were chopping the trees down, the frantic birds were like tiny scientists, hurriedly collecting specimens before it was too late.

5 comments:

nina bagley said...

a friend guided me to your wonderful blog, as i am a lover of all things nature related - and in particular, birds. i wake up to the woodthrush and phoebe calls in the mornings this spring, watched the phoebes' babies hatch out and then fly the coop on mother's day. my work - i am a jewelry designer and a mixed media artist (dimensional art books) centers on such things. the older i get, the more peace i find in surrounding myself with the quiet of trees, these mountains, running streams. thank you for your writings and ponderings.

Lucy said...

When I was pointing the stone wall of our stone house, I had to dig quite deeply at times to remove old mortar, reshape stones etc.
I found old mouse's nests which contained ancient grains of buckwheat, which hasn't been grown in these parts for at least 50 years, and tiny scraps of butter muslin. Buckwheat pancakes and butter-milk were the staple diet of local people, especially children, many of our older neighbours reminisce fondly about it, the butter was too precious to keep and was mostly sold.
It seemed to me that the mice were like tiny archivists of social history.
I wrote a poem about this but have never blogged it, perhaps I'll look it out...

Bro. Bartleby said...

Thank you Sister Nina, hmm, perhaps you had better not read what I have said about the seemingly peaceful nature of nature, but I understand your quest for peace. And Sister Lucy, mice! Now our list of unacknowledged scholars has increased twofold! Perhaps threefold? That is if we add you to our list.

Lucy said...

Oh I am SISTER Lucy, I am so happy!

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