Did you know the hummingbird builds its tiny nest using, among other things, spider webs, so that the home will stretch as the babies grow?  A weaverbird weaves and sews its nest out of grass. It’s the papa Cactus Wren–and this is not unusual for wrens– who builds the nest. In fact, he builds several in hopes of impressing the female.

ibg.common.titledetailI learned all these things in the wonderful children’s book, MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST (Jennifer Ward, author; Steve Jenkins, illustrator) This delightful picture book is written in rhyme with the baby bird (or egg) as the narrator. Here’s more: The Burrowing Owl digs out a burrow in the ground, “a safe and feathery furrow.” The flamingo builds its nest of mud and the bald eagle builds a huge nest  five to six feet large and two to three feet high.

The book made me think about the various styles of homes we as people create. There are “minimalists” who keep their homes very simple and free of any excess–the less belongings the better. Then there are mamas (and papas as well) who create fancier and more elaborate homes. I know a few who sew, paint etc. and enjoy decorating their “nests” with their handiwork.  There are all different sizes of homes as well from the very small to the extremely large. And yes, some build their homes on ledges like the falcons, and some even keep several homes and move from one to the other. This book reminded me that it doesn’t matter so much what style of home we create, as long as it serves as a safe haven where family members can grow and develop and learn to “fly.”

I love it when my grown up children return to visit their old home with their own “baby birds.” Sometimes, while moving from one “nest” to another, they’ve even moved back in for a short period. But then they fly off again to their own adventures and to live their own lives and create their own havens.


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