Saturday, June 16, 2012


Recently we had a bird build a nest in the most precarious location.  And where would that be?  In a grapevine wreath on the front door of the Kilgore home at 311 35th Ave., NE, Birmingham, Alabama.  I made the decorative wreath to embellish my office door when I was on staff at Ridgecrest Baptist Church as Associate Pastor in the areas of music and senior adults.  After retirement I brought the wreath home and relocated it to the front door of our home.  This Spring a small wren surprised me with a beautiful decorative touch to the front door wreath—a bird’s nest with four speckled eggs.

The nest itself was truly an amazing work of art.  It was so well camouflaged that the nest was completed before I even knew it was there.  I have had birds build nests in the hanging ferns and in the shrubbery nearby, but never on a door.  What a surprising discovery to find this uninvited touch of nature showing up at our front door and so beautifully displayed.   It came to mind that this was not the best location for any bird’s nest, but it was an interesting situation.  I guess the bird saw it differently.

That nest reminded me of a child’s book I read to Lee Beth and John Mac as children, entitled “The Best Nest.”  It was written by P. D. Eastman and published by Random House, Inc.  The reason I enjoyed reading this simple story because it had a song inserted in the text for which I would make up a tune and sing it while reading the story.   The words to the song were “I love my house. I love my nest.  In all the world my nest is best.”

Pictures are as important as words in a children’s book, but I share the story now without the aid of pictures. At times I will add a description in parenthesis to assist the storyline letting your imagination do the rest.  Hope you enjoy this simple profound story.

Mr. Bird was happy.  He was so happy he had to sing.  This was Mr. Bird’s song: “I love my house. I love my nest. In all the world my nest is best!” 

Then Mrs. Bird came out of the house. “It’s NOT the best nest!” she said.  “I’m tired of
this old place,” said Mrs. Bird. “I hate it. Let’s look for a new place right now!”

So they left the old place to look for a new one.  “This place looks nice,” said Mr. Bird. “Let’s move in here.” (picture a tall tree with a hole in the trunk.)  But somebody else had already moved in. 

So they looked at another house.  “This one looks nice,” said Mr. Bird. (picture a large old high-top shoe or a boot).  “And there’s nobody in it.”  “You’re wrong,” said Mrs. Bird. “This house belongs to a foot!”

So they went on looking.  “I like this one,” said Mr. Bird.  “It has a pretty red flag on the roof.” (picture a mail box)  “I’ve always wanted a house with a flag,” said Mrs. Bird.  “Maybe this place will be all right.”  But it was not all right! (picture letters being  placed in the box by the mailman) “I guess I made a mistake,” said Mr. Bird.

“You make too many mistakes,” said Mrs. Bird.  “I’m going to pick the next house.  And here it is---right here!” (picture a church staple and bell tower)  They flew in.  They looked around.  “Isn’t it too big?” asked Mr. Bird.  “I like this big place,” said Mrs. Bird.  “This is the place to build our new nest.” 

They went right to work.  They need many things to build their nest.  First they got some hay.  They got some soda straws and broom straws.  They got some sweater string. They got some stocking string and mattress stuffing.  They got some horsehair.  They got some man hair.  Soon they had all the hay, all the straw, all the string, all the stuffing, all the horsehair, and all the man hair they could carry.  They took it all back to build their nest.

Mr. & Mrs. Bird worked very hard.  It took them the rest of the morning to finish their nest.  “This nest is really the best!” said Mrs. Bird.  “I want to stay here forever.”  Mr. Bird was very happy too.  He flew to the top of his house.  He sang his song again: “I love our house. I love our nest. In all the world our nest is best!”

He was so busy singing.  He didn’t even see Mr. Parker coming.  Every day at twelve o’clock, Mr. Parker came to the church.  Mr. Parker came to pull a rope.  The rope went up to the Birds’ new nest.  The rope rang the big bell right under Mrs. Bird’s nest.  Mrs. Bird got out of there as fast as she could fly.

When Mr. Bird came in, all he could see was a mess of hay and string and stuffing and horsehair and man hair and straws.  Where was Mrs. Bird?  “I will look for her until I find her,” said Mr. Bird.  He looked high.  He looked low.  He looked everywhere for Mrs. Bird.  He looked down into a chimney.  But Mrs. Bird wasn’t there.  He looked down into a water barrel.  (picture horses around a water barrel) But Mrs. Bird wasn’t there.

Then he saw a big fat cat.  There was a big fat smile on the fat cat’s face.  There were some pretty brown feathers near the fat cat’s mouth.  Mr. Bird began to cry.  “Oh, dear!” he cried.  “This big fat cat has eaten Mrs. Bird!”

Mr. Bird flew off.  “I’ll never see Mrs. Bird again,” he cried.  It was getting dark.  It began to rain.  It rained harder and harder.  Mr. Bird could not see where he was going.

Crash!  Mr. Bird bumped into something!  It was his old house---that old, old house that Mrs. Bird hated.  “I’ll go inside,” said Mr. Bird.  “I’ll rest here until the rain stops.”

Mr. Bird went in.  And there was Mrs. Bird!  Sitting here, singing!  “I love my house. I love my nest.  In all the world this nest is best.” 

“You! Here!” gasped Mr. Bird.  “I thought you hated this old nest!”

Mrs. Bird smiled.  “I used to hate it,” she said.  “But a mother bird can change her mind.  You see there’s no nest like an old nest for a brand-new bird!” (picture a small egg in the  nest)
And when the egg popped open, the new bird thought so too! (THE END)

Now back to the bird’s nest in the wreath on my front door.  When the wren first built the nest integrating it with the wreath decor, there was debris on the floor of the porch left from the nest building.  I noticed the debris a day before I discovered the nest, and could not understand what happened to cause such a mess.  I had no explanation.  The nest was difficult to see because the nest’s construction incorporated the colors in the wreath.  It blended in so well--colors of brown straw, sticks, brown leaves, feathery brown stuff from early spring tree foliage, and soft green and yellowish moss.  It also was a deep nest much like a funnel as it rested against our dark red door.  The nest was also built next to a decorative musical symbol, a treble clef sign made of Mother of Pearl for which I had hot-glued when the wreath was made to go on my office door. 

At first I thought the nest-building bird had left the nest and moved to a new location.  There were no eggs in the nest and no sign of the bird builders. Because of that, I purchased some artificial birds and placed them around the nest to make an additional decorative statement.  I place one of the artificial birds in the opening of the deep nest and one in the bottom of the wreath away from the nest.  The next day I noticed that the “fake”  bird in the nest opening had moved a little.  How can that be?  I moved it closer into the nest.  Later on in the day, I noticed again that the artificial bird had moved from the opening.  My conclusion was there were birds planning to use the nest as their home.  I removed one of the artificial birds leaving the nest opening accessible. 

In a day or two I noticed a feathery mother bird sitting deep in the nest with her feathers somewhat fluffed up as she sat motionless. She blended so well inside the nest that it was difficult to see her.  She would fly away when my wife, Pat and I went in and out of the front door.  I soon saw four spotted white and brown eggs deep within the nest.  After a few days the mother wren got used to the door opening and closing, and she would remain on her nest as we went back and forth through the door.  There was one big exception!! If you looked straight at the nest with her eyes wide open looking straight at you, she would come out of her nest quickly and fly to the nearest dogwood tree.  Then she would make a continuous chirping sound.

I only noticed one bird around the nest, making me wonder if there might be two working in shifts.  To my untrained eye, it would be difficult to distinguish between Mr. Bird and Mrs. Bird.  Eventually, a spider web appeared over the nest as a canopy.  I thought how appropriate that nature handiwork continues and maybe even furnish food for the future little ones.  But as days turned into weeks and weeks into a month, there were still no baby birds.  But Mrs. Bird was faithful to sit on the nest all day, only to leave a very short period early in the morning. At this point I was fearful that the eggs would not hatch because of the time frame since they were laid.  We probably disturbed the mother bird to often in those early days of nesting, resulting in the eggs not incubating. 


Mrs. Bird must have gotten the message too because she has not been seen for a few days now.  All that remains is the beautifully constructed nest and four tiny unhatched eggs.  This is not as nature intended it to be.  But what do you expect when you build a nest on the front door.   I plan to preserve the nest and its eggs as a reminder of the good fortune and blessings of God on our home.  There is one important lesson from all this—it is important where you build your nest.

From my nest to yours, I hope that you can sing, “I love my house, I love my nest, in all the world my nest is best.”  I challenge you to build your nest on the SOLID ROCK OF CHRIST, and not on the revolving door of this world.  And stay faithful for HE is faithful.

Johnny Kilgore

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