My wife, Jen, made up some beautiful hanging baskets. A few weeks ago, a pair of juncos decided to build a nest in one of them. We wondered how to negotiate watering the hanging basket, now home to a bird’s nest. After the nest was built and the eggs, presumably, were laid, Jen tried to gently water one corner … and got a face full of angry bird yelling at her.
As the basket got drier and the flowers began to die, a dilemma arose. If we let the plants die, the birds will lose the camouflage and be more exposed. If we water the plants, the birds will be upset, stressed, and possibly abandon the nest.
It was at this point that my genius wife thought to re-purpose the tube of the turkey baster (which has not basted a turkey in many a year). With the narrow end inserted into the soil at the opposite end from the nest and the bulb removed from the other end, there is now a tube to funnel water into the soil without overly disturbing the birds.
It’s not a perfect solution – the plants in that hanging basket are not faring nearly as well as their bird nest-free neighbours – but they are still alive and providing some shelter as the hatchlings are preparing to fledge.
This is not only an amusingly bucolic story for you to enjoy with your Saturday morning coffee, although, hopefully, it is that too. It’s a small illustration of how one species of animal – ours – can use its evolutionary advantage to both destroy the earth’s ecosystems and preserve a hanging basket for a few baby juncos.
We get to choose every day how we want to use our power.
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