Every winter when I clean out the birdhouses here at Masterworks I look forward to all the interesting things I might find. When I opened up the house by the garden that normally houses three nestings of bluebirds, I got several surprises! First of all, sadly, there were unhatched eggs in the nest from last year. It is not surprising. If I remember correctly, toward the end of the nesting season the tempertures were in the high 90's and we were in severe drought. Things were just too hard for the little birds to bring more babies into the world. Or maybe they cooked!
The next surprise was that actually the eggs were not bluebird eggs, but rather they were some little brown slightly speckled eggs. From my birdnest book, they appear to be house wren eggs. House wrens are known to line the nest with "plant fibers, rootlets, fibers, hair and feathers". This one had a LOT of feathers in it and I don't remember ever seeing that many in a bluebird nest before.
Which leads to the third surprise. Something was shimmering. As I studied the interesting spot, it appeared to be coming from a feather. Not just any feather. It looked just like something I've seen before, a peacock? Yes, it looked just like a miniature peackcock feather! It was all weaved into the nest along with the others. As you see in the picture, a cardinal feather was in there with it!
There are some peacock's about a mile down the road. Did the feather just blow over onto our property? Had the bird spotted it down the road and carried it all the way to this nest? Had the bird found it and saved it for a special day?
Birds are so special! They entertain us with their songs, their activities and their physical beauty. Do they also appreciate special things as we appreciate them? I know it is not likely. But I just can't help but wonder if there isn't a little house wren out there that has a special eye for decorating that found that feather one day and got excited, showed it to her mate and brought it to the little nest with excitement! If she is out there, I hope she and all the other little feathered "treasure hunters" out there find many more wonderful things to put in their nests this year. I look forward to seeing what they find again next winter! Thank you little birds!