Fire Feather

Fire Feather

There’s a nest in the barn that changes every day. It was made by a barn swallow of mud and hay, but now it’s poorly disguised with a beard of grasses and twigs, feathers, and bits of fiber.

I don’t know if it’s meant to change.

Perhaps it’s a kind of camouflage.    Or maybe it’s just loosely constructed.  The green clover dried to brown from one day to the next.  The wind or even just the movement of the birds knocking tufts of the beard to the ground.

This morning I saw a sparrow fly from the nest.  The same kind of sparrow that sits confidently on the doorway of the hen house and eats the laying mash as if it were theirs.

When I found this flame of a feather on the ground in the pole barn under the nest I had no doubt that a sparrow brought it there.

Seeing it made me think that maybe the “beard”  isn’t a disguise but decoration. The sparrows bringing home fresh flowers every day to replace the withered ones.

And that flame of a feather….what a find.

Maybe it fell out of the nest, or perhaps the sparrow dropped it and was waiting for me to leave before picking it up again.

Sometimes I worry that the sparrows will take over and the barn swallows won’t come back. But they have another nest in the pole barn,  more inside the barn, and one in the woodshed too.

So I guess they have figured out how to live together even if the sparrow’s invasive nature seems, at times, harsh to me.

It makes me think that human judgment and morals have no place in the natural world.

The bearded Barn Swallow nest, taken over by a sparrow.

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