Friday, May 18, 2012

Phoebe Or Phoenix?

In the last post, I told you about the phoebe catastrophe, how I found the nest on the hard slate floor of the front porch, surrounded by three dead babies.  After that, I noticed that the parents kept flying into the porch and flying out again, which I interpreted as the phoebe way of mourning.  I hoped their sorrow would pass.

As it turns out, the phoebes weren't mourning, or, if they were, they didn't let it slow them down in the building of...another nest!  The day after the old one fell, the foundation of the new one was in place, just a couple of feet from where the old one had been.  Now the new nest is halfway finished, and the slate beneath it is covered in gobs of mud and other construction debris.

I'm not one to see moral lessons wherever I turn in Nature, but I must confess that these phoebes got to me.  I mean, what resilience after tragedy, courage in the face of adversity, optimism on the heels of abject failure!  They reminded me of Al Gore, who after the election debacle did not crawl into a hole, as I would have done, but went on to become the patron saint of contemporary ecology.

Persistence, thy name is Phoebe.

On the other hand, maybe thy name is Phool?  Didn't Einstein say that stupidity was doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results?

So I'm feeling a little confused.  Should I admire--even imitate--the phoebes for their persistence, or should I feel sorry for them and try not to look at what's going on in the front porch too often?

Meanwhile, all is well with the bluebirds, except that the parents are so busy bringing food to the nest that they actually look thinner to my worried eye.

5 comments :

  1. This is not so very different from doing IVF over and over again. And occasionally, one does eventually get a good result...

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  2. They are programmed and we are not or so I assume. I wonder how often they will try bedore they give up? There must be a fertile season.

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  3. You both bring up an interesting point. Are the birds programmed? Are people?

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  4. last may, a tornado ripped through part of minneapolis, destroying houses, businesses, and a heron rookery along the mississippi river.

    now, a year later, a new rookery is in place just a little way down the river, with babies and nests and all, even as houses and businesses remain covered in blue tarp.

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