as fall disintegrates into winter, i’ve been noticing the birds’ nests in the trees around the city a lot lately. there are a fair amount in my neighborhood in lincoln square, because there are a lot of trees there. i guess that sounds fairly stupid, but i should mention for those not familiar (and i’m becoming more and more familiar by the day), that not all trees have nests in them. some have more than one and some have none.
lincoln square seems to be a good tree place in general. since i’ve lived there, i’ve really noticed the seasons by the trees. we seem to have a really amazing fall — lots of different leaves — different shapes, different colors — rich in texture and in brillance. in summer, the trees canopy the street in green and shade me from the hot afternoon sun. spring brings hope — i can see life happening. it’s a wonder to see the leaves’ promise in buds coming from branches and i know that spring’s full flourish cannot be far behind. and now, as winter approaches, and the trees are left barren of their crown jewels, stark against gray skies, they reveal their hidden caches of life left standing.
these nests look so fragile hanging in the balance of these uppermost branches. i can’t imagine how they’re built, much less how they are able to stay up in these trees the way they look situated. it seems preposterous. they look like one good wind would take care of them in a fell swoop. maybe this *does* happen all summer — honestly, i’m not sure of all the ins and outs of nesting. but i imagine if this were the case, i’d be seeing far more nest remains on the sidewalks and in the front yards of my single-family homed neighbors with all the summer storms that are wont to rage through chicago in a typical summer.
i don’t know if the birds stay there over the winter, or if they go somewhere more out of the elements. if they seek shelter closer to the ground, or if they actually abandon ship and migrate south. for some reason, i have this idea that birds don’t migrate as much anymore. i could be making that up, because i make a lot of things up. but lately, i’ve been putting my eyes to the skies to notice the hard work of the summer past. it is a bittersweet feeling — seeing great creations and wondering how much work and coordination it must have taken to build, and yet knowing that the season for flourishing in them has passed.
i look forward to the first robin of next year. until then, hang tight, city birds. i know i will.