Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

The Nest Behind the Skull


Signs of spring

March 26

On March 26th, our family discovered a bird had built a nest behind the skull next to our front door. This began a time of wait, watch, and wonder for our family. Some of you have shared this experience through photos and my notes, as it unfolded. Here is the journey as a whole.

March 30 – Eggs in the nest behind our skull!

March 30

March 30

March 30 – And then there were three.

March 30

March 30

April 1 – And now, four…

Nest 1

April 1

April 12 – Look who just hatched! I checked this morning and there were four eggs. Came home just now to two baby chicks. I’m thinking we’ll wake up to two more.

Nest 2

April 12

April 13 – And, now there are three. It was fascinating to watch the process of the past two weeks and how the mama bird shifted the eggs around in the nest. When we checked this morning, Noé said, and I’m not making this up, “Oh, they grow up so fast! Look, they already have feathers.”
One lone egg remains, Noé said the other three babies are saying, “Come on in there! Come out!” And the lone little bird in the egg responds back through the shell, “No way. It’s too cold out there!”
Nest 3

April 13

April 14 – Sunday morning and everybody is sleeping in.

Nest 4

April 14

April 18 – Time for breakfast behind the skull.

Nest 5

April 18

April 21 – Babies are now sprouting tiny feathers. I learned they’re called pin feathers. This makes me think of my own nest.

Nest 7

April 21

April 23 – Bellying up to the bar behind the skull.

Nest 8

April 23

April 28 – The birds today. We can imagine it will be long now, before we go out to an empty nest. The front door is open and we hear a chorus of chirping when the mama bird feeds them. 

Nest 11

April 28

April 30 – And then there was one. The other three took flight today. They don’t seem to go far yet and prefer to hang out on a nearby bush. This last one flew a little bit and came back to the nest behind the skull. This week there was quite a bit of discussion about the type of bird, whether house finch or sparrow. After a lively discussion among serious birders, I believe house finch was the consensus.


April 30

May 4 – The nest behind the skull sits empty now. When I look closely, I find it woven with strands from our mop, our dog’s hair, and horsehair from the nearby stable.


May 4

May 4 – The nest stands empty, and we wait …

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

30 thoughts on “The Nest Behind the Skull

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  4. Hi Winkie! I struggle to keep up and hate getting on the computer at night, but love to hear from you! Let’s talk by phone sometime soon. Hope all is well. Hugs to Noe’ , kids and you! Love you, Nancy “yates’

    Sent from my iPad

    • Dear Nancy, Oh, thanks so much for getting on the computer at night to keep in touch! Yes, let’s talk on the phone again soon! Much love to you, Winkie

  5. What a powerful metaphor that unfolds here, Dawn. I will be chewing on this one all day. How a mother builds her nest, how the nest must hold together with its variety of threads and fibers, how fierce and acute the needs are when the nest is occupied, how quickly it becomes empty … a beautiful celebration of life, emotions and all.

    • Dear Kate, I keep reading and re-reading what you wrote here. you express the essence of a mother’s life here with sheer power and poetry. Thank you and thank you.

  6. I love this, Dawn! How lucky you are to witness their birth, growth and departure. I hope they come back to raise future generations. We had mourning doves at our last house. The papa is present and works w/mom to help the chick. I was fortunate once to see them encouraging a fledgling in flight. He teetered on a fence with baby fluff still clinging to his new feathers and the parents landed next to him and then flew to the rooftop as if to say, “Like this! Easy peasy.” Finally, he took off, his flight lopsided and dipping, but gaining courage, he followed them into the blue.

    • Dear Sandra, What a gift to see a fledgling learning to fly! I wished we had a window looking out at the nest, so we might have glimpsed this. “Like this! Easy peasy.” 🙂 How beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing this image and experience. Abrazos, Dawn

  7. Dearest Dawn, Thank you for sharing this Spring Milagro! It lifts my heart this morning. Life is fragile, but it is also tenacious and so very brave. Mucho smooches, Jann

    • Dearest Jann, A spring milagro! Leave it to you to come up with such a gorgeous expression for this experience. Fragile, tenacious, and very brave… Gorgeous. Huge hugs, Dawn

  8. Love it!! I have a curve billed thasher nesting in a nearby cholla and there are 4[on May 4]–up from 3[on May 3] eggs –blue with brown speckles, about an inch long. Fun! Liz

  9. This is just wonderful, Dawn! I have sent it to my 3 year old granddaughter. Love, Shirlee


  10. Imagine how quickly those baby birds have to GET WITH THE PROGRAM — get rid of those pin feathers and emerge from the nest! I have a similar scene taking place on a rafter out my front door. The babies haven’t hatched yet, but the parents defend the nest every time I go out or come back home by strafing the top of my head with the determined sound of their fierce fluttering. They are tiny birds with huge hearts. I admire them greatly and ignore the messy droppings…

    Your pictures really are wonderful!

    • We have a similar experience founding two blue eggs….but mom never returned.
      My two girls and their two girlfriends adopted them. We rush into the garage looking to the egg incubator I have long ago bought.
      The 4 Moms, look very closely and after 4 days they hatch! My friends got into a local feeding store for bird formula and advice.
      The 4 adoptive moms took turns feeding them bird formula with a dropper every 3 hours-including night shift- that was done by my kids because the incubator was there.
      We took pictures we learn so much-including that for a good reason nature allows for one, maybe two moms, but 4 was way too much!
      Unfortunately after almost two week they died.
      It was too hard and painful to decide about the service arrangements. We have had several services and a particular part of the garden was dedicated to all of our animals that have passed away.
      I discretely put the birds in the freezer waiting for a decision to be made. That never happen, it was too hard to handle. After a month I buried the two birds in the memorial garden.

    • Dear Liz,
      “Tiny birds with huge hearts.” Oh, I love this. So very true. These tiny beings brought such huge joy to our home. So glad that you’re experiencing this as well – yes, does make it easy to ignore their messing droppings.. 🙂 XOXO Dawn

  11. Dawn, what a fantastic, sequential story. How about a children’s book? I would buy it for myself 😀

  12. what a great post! I loved seeing the process of the nest, the eggs, the chicks-

    Best Wishes Dianne Blanche’s Place 1-719-630-0550 1-888-630-0446 WEB:Blanche’s Place NEWSLETTER: Sign up to receive notifications on new items and specials BLOG: Victorian Vintage Musings Like Us On FaceBook!!!!!!!!


  13. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. Observing such changes really gives you sence of passing time.

  14. This was an interesting thing to walk through with you. A journey of beginings and perhaps even of ends.

  15. Hi Andi, This little nest and its inhabits became our focal point during these weeks. Amazing to experience up close. I loved the building materials, as well. “Inventiveness and imagination.” Love that. Opens all kinds of new understandings and wisdom. Thank you!

  16. Love this post, Dawn. What I find particularly amazing is the nest building materials–horsehair? MOP? That’s inventiveness & imagination for you.

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