This summer, I have decided to let the yard go a little. I usually try to keep it mowed and trimmed and in the past we had hired a guy to do it for us on occasion when we knew it would be difficult with new twin babies in the house. But this year, I have no good excuses other than what I discovered when I let the yard go for a few weeks early in the spring. Because the neighborhood is full of beautifully trimmed and heavily chemically treated yards, our yard has become a sanctuary for bunny rabbits and other woodland creatures who venture out of the creek to find food. We have a small garden, and I think that has also offered them a variety of leafy treats. So I have left the yard tall and they have made their homes in our bushes and shrubberies. They also enjoy our rotted fence with many escape wholes. Some people work so hard to keep their yard maintained and never really spend time outside enjoying it. Our kids love exploring outside with all the bugs, birds, and critters that come to visit our quiet little patch of suburban rain forest lawn. Almost every day you can watch out the window and catch a bunny or two munching the grass and cautiously investigating their domain.
We have gotten to know a pigeon who took up nest in a planter that I had not planned on using this year. The babies love to come out and see her sitting on her nest. You can get pretty close to see him and she won’t fly away because of her protective nature and what she is sitting on. The first time I saw her sitting there, I thought it was fake somehow. I was to close and it hadn’t moved in the slightest. But then when it did finally flutter away, I understood quickly why it was holding it’s ground with such devotion.
Inside her nest was two, perhaps three, little freshly hatched little pigeons. How perfect. The chance for us as a family to see nature happen right in front of our eyes. Nature is awesome. Especially after what has now happened to our feathered neighbors. A few nights ago we had some serious rain. They say it was a 500 year flood for the metro area of Oklahoma City. That means it will only rain / flood like that once every 500 years. The rain and thunder woke up a few children in our house in the wee hours of the morning. But as soon as I woke up my first thought was of these baby birds who by now would surely be under water.The planter has draining holes at the bottom, but being filled with dirt it would not drain fast enough to keep the nest from fully going under water. Deep inside I wanted to rush outside and put up a tarp or something to protect them, but then I realized how muddy and wet I would get just trying to get out to the garden area and thought by now, it had already been raining like this for hours. It was surly to late.
I just knew that in the morning there would be drowned dead baby birds floating in the planter. But I was shocked to see that momma pigeon had found a solution. She had knocked the entire planter down off the stand it was sitting on and dumped it over on the ground. The base of the planter had formed a small cove in which at least one of the babies had found shelter. I found a chick sitting under the planter base in the morning. I carefully returned the planter to the shelf and then scooped up the baby using the planter base and returned it to the nest. Mom was out already, and I had assumed that the other or others had been washed away and thought that I would find the bodies later. But nature is incredible. Today I found another baby chick who had found it’s way into the middle of the garden. It’s a raised bed garden, so it probably drained pretty well throughout the storm. Both birds are much bigger then the last time I saw them, maybe due to the fact that they have since dried off and fluffed up a bit, but I am hopping that mom is still feeding them. I will continue to check up on them as I check up on the garden. Hopefully they will be able to fly away soon and search for food. Or else I may stay up tonight researching what I could feed pigeons.
The whole experience has given me an idea of inspiration. In the fall, the children and I can build a large bird house to place next to the garden. One that would keep out the rain and encourage our little visitors to come back for generations to come.