A large forsythia bush has brightened my life for decades, waving its willowy branches and blooms from the place where it was planted many years ago. I pass by this old friend every time I leave the …
A large forsythia bush has brightened my life for decades, waving its willowy branches and blooms from the place where it was planted many years ago. I pass by this old friend every time I leave the house, failing to notice anything new, unless its branches poke at my head in passing, calling for pruning, or when it is bursting with yellow blossoms in early spring.
Just after this year’s blooms were but a memory, I noticed what appeared to be a growing clump of shaggy grasses among the branches. Closer inspection revealed that construction of an American robin’s nest was underway within a few feet of the stone path below.
Despite the active use of the walkway and some vigorous rainstorms that seemed to pose substantial risk to the feathered family, two baby birds emerged, grew into nestlings and ultimately became fledglings.
When we encounter young birds on the ground, their vulnerability can stir our desire to intervene on their behalf. Often they don’t need our help, and we run the risk of “bird-napping” a baby bird from its parents. Avoid this common and well-meaning mistake by viewing a helpful tutorial made by Sweetbriar Nature Center about the differences between nestlings and fledglings at www.instagram.com/p/CurVqJRsvIb/. Then learn what to do if you should find a nestling bird on the ground at www.instagram.com/p/CuoxU09MUju/ .
Sweetbriar is an environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation center based on a 54-acre preserve in Smithtown, NY (www.sweetbriarnc.org ). In addition to the outstanding support provided for wildlife rehabilitation in the Long Island area, the nonprofit organization continually strives to educate the public about how best to help—and not to unintentionally harm—animals in need. If you can afford to do so, please support their excellent work with a donation.
Around that same time in late spring, the summer issue of my favorite magazine, “Orion: Nature and Culture” arrived. It opens with a few lines from a song by The Cure, “Come closer and see/See into the trees.” And while a forsythia bush is not a tree, it is yet another vehicle in the natural world where transformative experiences take place and the opportunity to witness such events is made possible. Stay alert and keep your eyes open to the endless wonders of nature.
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