Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Slice of Life: Cowbirds? Seriously?

Today I'm joining Tuesday's Slice of Life event at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by.  As always, thanks Ruth and Stacey.  

Today when I returned from school, I grabbed my heavy bag of paperwork out of the car and began to walk up the sidewalk.  It's a busy time of year so I try to notice the small things that keep me going.  After a long weekend working in the yard, I smiled to myself as I paused long enough to notice the new hakuro nishiko willow shrubs we planted last week.  I took a moment to enjoy the irises in bloom around the sidewalk.

Then something unusual caught my attention.  A nest in our rose bush?  I hadn't noticed that before.  The nest was small and would have easily fit into my hand.  It was carefully made with small pieces woven tightly together.  How could I have missed it?

When I glanced inside I noticed four small eggs.  The eggs were lightly speckled and blue.  Though robin's have blue eggs, this nest seemed much too small and I don't remember robin's eggs being speckled.

As I opened the door later this evening to water plants I noticed the bird in the nest.  I walked closer to get a better look, but the bird flew quickly away.  I couldn't examine it, but would guess it runs in the sparrow family.  I decided to research a bit and found this conversation about a similar nest with one dissimilar egg.  It sounded a bit like the nest I had seen in our rose bush and upon closer inspection I found the nest in our yard to also have an egg that, though speckled, did not seem as blue and looks a bit larger.

Do I have a cowbird egg?  I didn't know anything about cowbirds until trying to identify this nest this evening.  Now I'm wishing I would have just walked up the sidewalk, my busy list racing through my mind, and hadn't taken the time to pause to notice this small nest.

Nature's Tricks
Mama sparrow 
you left your nest for only a moment
but a moment is too long

seconds is all
the cowbird needs
to swoop in
take one of your eggs
and leave her own
for you
to care for
to feed
to keep safe

Mama sparrow
didn't you even

© Cathy L. Mere

Ohio Department of Natural Resources:  Brown Headed Cowbird
Cowbird Eggs in Nestboxes
New World Sparrows


  1. IT is one of those things in nature that is hard to understand. It is like in real life when some parents don't want to take responsibility for their own children, but expect others to do the raising.. You would think the mother bird would notice it is not her egg.. I feel sad that you had to notice it, but I am sure there is a lesson in it all.

  2. I want the rest of the story -- have the eggs hatched?

  3. Mary Lee,
    It appears she abandoned the nest. The plot thickens.



Poetry Month: The Last Poem 30 of 30

For the month of April, I'll be writing poetry each day in celebration of National Poetry Month.  I've decided not choose a theme, n...