Myrtle

This summer, as is usually our practice, we put a variety of houseplants out on the front IMG_0054porch to replenish their growth after the long winter indoors.  One of those houseplants is a Norfolk Island Pine that we use as a Christmas tree.  Now that the kids have moved away, our need for a full-sized tree has gone with them, and this little tree is perfect for us.

In June, our little tree was noticed by a most industrious little bird that was badly in need of a new nest.  This bird, a beautiful female Cardinal, could barely fly due to the eggs she was carrying yet some small twigs began to appear in our tree.  At first, we thought it might be debris from a recent storm and so we cleaned them out.  However, they continued to appear and, within a very few days a completed nest was securely lodged in our little tree.  DSC_1930This bird, who we named Myrtle, then became a permanent resident in our tree on our front porch.

Within a few days, Myrtle laid her eggs.  She and her handsome red mate tended the nest for the next 10 days until her three eggs hatched.  The process of feeding them began in the most interesting fashion.  Both Myrtle and her mate would go about gathering food for the fledglings.  While Myrtle fed her young, her mate would fly “cover” and signal with a unique “chirp” if danger was approaching.  While her mate was feeding the young, Myrtle would do the same.  In this case, “danger” usually meant that one of us was on the front porch.DSC_1937

In less than a month from the time that Myrtle began building her nest, the fledglings were on their way and learning to fly.  The whole process was fascinating to watch and much different from what we were taught in grade school.  We still see some young cardinals, 2 female and 1 male, fly around the porch to say hello to us.  Maybe they are just seeing if the old homestead is still there.  The Norfolk Island Pine is growing nicely in the warm summer sunshine, but the nest is long gone.

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About J T Weaver

The author of "Uphill Both Ways," a thought provoking series of stories about life, family, and growing up.
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37 Responses to Myrtle

  1. Pingback: 50. Settling In | J T Weaver

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  3. Aquileana says:

    What a beautiful experience J. T… Following Myrtle as she builds her nest, and the fledglings were learning to fly. Truly beautiful, a metaphor of life development.
    Best regards, Aquileana 😛

    Like

  4. joannesisco says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories. This one in particular gave me a bit of deja vu. We, too, had a similar experience this summer with a robin. It was an endless source of fascination until the little ones were able to leave the nest. Thanks for the great story!

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    • J T Weaver says:

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoy the stories. I’m sorry I can’t post my best ones since they are in the book.

      Like

      • joannesisco says:

        I’m quite interested in your book. I am in the final stages of writing of similar book but this one is the story of my parents. Soon I will be looking for an editor. I would be interested in hearing about your adventures in getting your book published.

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        • J T Weaver says:

          Thanks Joanne. I have written 3 posts that might interest you, “Copyrights and other such things,” “So You Want To Publish,” and “E-Books.”

          For my book, I did everything myself; writing, editing, formatting, cover, publishing. So I really don’t have and credible recommendations for people to help you.

          I hope you enjoy the book.

          Like

  5. Kiri says:

    What a beautiful story thank you for sharing. Those moments when nature crosses our path are so precious exactly because we can’t control them.

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  6. What a wondrous thing to experience. It must have been kind of emotional when they left. I love the photographs – the little beak is so cute!

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  7. Amazing photos. I like the empty nest theme too – both yours and Myrtles. Neatly done.

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  8. Chatty Owl says:

    What a beautiful little family you have as a guest! 🙂 big smiles.
    Im back online now and back to civilisation and online world. Om glad to be catching up on your posts.
    Once again, an immense thank you for that review too…

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  9. Wonderfully constructed — you def have a gift for writing…..

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  10. jguenther5 says:

    I lived for a while in a 1910-era farmhouse beside a good-sized Araucaria araucana, a prickly relative of the Norfolk Island pine. Not a user-friendly tree, though the leaves made good fire-starter. It had a habit of dropping heavy seed-pods, edible, if one didn’t bop you on the head, first.

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  11. What a lovely experience for you! Gives your beautiful Christmas tree a whole new layer of meaning. Thank you got sharing … 🙂

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  12. We had robins a few years ago which was fun to watch the babies until it was time to harvest tomatoes in the garden. The divebombing was overwhelming!

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  13. What a beautiful memory (and pictures). Reminds me of the Robin’s nest on the outside window sill of my childhood bedroom window. PS. Thanks for the follow.

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  14. seeker says:

    I love it. I’m glad that you have a tree for the birds, JT.

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    • J T Weaver says:

      Thanks. But the crows, hawks, bluebirds, bluejays, robins, owls, turtledoves, red foxes, jack rabbits, squirrels, whitetail deer, opossum, (I’m sure I’ve left some out) and turkey vultures are all extremely jealous. I sense an open revolt of the wildlife is building ….

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  15. marianbeaman says:

    I had a little tree like this once in a pot on my office desk decorated for Christmas. Then I planted it, and it’s now about 8 feet tall growing in our back yard in Florida.

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    • J T Weaver says:

      I was going to plant this one and get another one for next year but it says it’s not tolerant below 45 F. It won’t survive a Virginia winter outdoors. The problem is it will be too big/heavy to move in a couple of years. ooops, didn’t think of that 🙂

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  16. nomaddness says:

    Your little tree must have a nice long list of excellent memories by now. May it gather many more!

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