This is Beatrice.
I noticed her picking at the abandoned strings tied to a tomato cage we’d left upside down and forgotten. Last spring, she and her mate built a gossamer, sparking nest from found treasures still hanging from the oak tree in our front yard. We knew they’d returned (from wherever Bullock’s Orioles vacation in winter) when we heard the echoing hiccup-like call the male uses to woo his beloved.
After she flew away empty-beaked from the tomato cage, I couldn’t resist the urge to leave her a few bright threads from our sewing kit and a length of twine and yarn. Announcing her approval, she chattered as she inspected my offerings and flitted away with a sturdy red thread. She came back moments later to retrieve a purple one. In an hour, they were all gone.
We’re now on Day Four of avian gift giving, and only the twine and yarn strands have been dropped to the ground, rejected. Each morning and evening, I restock with the choicest threads and so far, Beatrice has taken over 70 strands to weave a nest strong enough to hold her precious progeny.
In a world gone mad, this little interspecies exchange is a bright-yellow surprise, as astonishing as it is healing. May you pause from whatever is keeping you up at night to find delight in gift giving and nature’s mercurial beauty.