Life is interconnected and so are the topics on this blog. It might be cooking and gardening one day, yoga the next, knitting and sewing, or hiking and then bird watching followed by recycling or composting. They are the parts that bring humble joy to my life of voluntary simplicity in Montana.
The vegetable garden is certainly a place of life and death.
Chard, spinach, and peas.
Select plants are carefully tended and protected, seeds saved. Others are ruthlessly
ripped out by the roots and destroyed at every appearance. Flowers are planted to attract certain insect
friends to your garden while potato beetles are plucked from leaves and killed without hesitation. I've watched a sharp-shinned hawk devour a house
sparrow in our garden beds. I've watched our spinach plants devoured by
leaf-miners. It is certainly a place that illustrates the ebb and flow
of life and death.
That said, I was still surprised to find a dead baby bird, all naked, blind and pink, in the strawberry patch.
Do you see it? Lower right.
It was a sad discovery as all dead babies are, but also an interesting opportunity for me. I always find
wildlife corpses to be like that. Dead animals are generally much, much easier and
safer to approach and thoroughly examine than living ones. In fact, I
strongly recommend against it with living wildlife, but I say go nuts with the
dead ones. Use a stick or gloves if you are squeamish about touching it directly or if it is a bit of an...aged...corpse. The wee bird was so tiny and delicate and perfectly formed. It was stunning really. A perfect little beak and wing and foot stuck out of the partially intact shell. Its shell was mostly white with a slight hint of blue-green to it and covered with brown speckles. It is so helpless looking...and I suppose really was just that.
We estimate this to be the baby of a house sparrow, but our guidebooks
are fairly lacking in the egg identifying department so don't quote me
How it got in the garden is still a bit mysterious as there is no nest
in the overhanging bush that we can see....but perhaps it is just a well
hidden nest. It is a tiny egg and baby so it probably is a tiny nest,
too. We left it there for some other critter to take care of. The
circle of life is like that. One critter's loss is another critter's
gain. I wonder how long it will take before someone has carried it off