Chipping Sparrows Bless Our Home
Each spring, a chipping sparrow arrives at my door. She builds a nest in our mailbasket. Having our loggia selected as prime real estate by nature makes me feel like blessings are sent to our home, as if angels are reminding us to enjoy nature’s miracles.
Our chipping sparrow becomes a member of our family during the time she sits on her eggs. Our busy lifestyle doesn’t interfere with her tranquil setting. When my family and I go in and out of our home, she pokes her head up from her leafy cave to greet us. We each slow down and take a moment to make sure she’s satisfied with her bed. From behind her black mask, she watches us admire her russet coloring. In the late afternoons, she stands at the lip of the basket and sings a short song like a call for nature to give her nourishment. Then she hops to the ground and forages for seeds and insects.
Eventually, instead of finding her sleek head peeking from her cozy home, there will be four pale blue eggs with chocolate specks dashed on them. They are always the same size and leaning on each other. It’s as if we worked together to create the right setting. A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction fills us.
Finally, the serene mood is replaced with chirping. Four hungry mouths branch out from the nest every time we walk by. I worry about the little fellows. Their mother spends most of her time nearby, singing lullabies at the Venetian wall fountain and gathering snacks for her newborns. She leaves for such long periods, I start searching the yard to make sure she hasn’t been killed. Certain the chicks will starve to death, I wonder if I’m capable of feeding their beaks.
But then, the chirping moves to the ground. When I turn quickly as I step outside, I’ll glimpse the chicks racing through the ground cover. Are they happy? Is their mother close by?
The first several years, our mailman ignored the sacred place and stuffed letters on her nest. Once the eggs hatched and the darlings moved out, I’d throw away the tangle of Spanish moss, Laurel oak leaves, and palm tree netting.
But every year, a new nest would be built in our basket mailbox. I don’t know if it’s the same mother or if her chicks grow up and remember their birthplace, but I stopped throwing out her old nest. We bought a copper mailbox and leave the basket for our extended family to enjoy.
Waking each day to such a magical expression of nature excites my family and joins us together as we gather to check on the chipping sparrows’ progress. Look around you. How has nature blessed your home?