Birding: Industrious birds build nest in unusual location

This nest, thanks to an oriole, is actually part of the flag. (Eric Moore/Courtesy)

This nest, thanks to an oriole, is actually part of the flag. (Eric Moore/Courtesy)

We live in a day and age where there is a lot of pessimism, and a lot of bad news. Whether watching the news or surfing the internet, we are constantly bombarded with terrible news — whether it is a horrific mass shooting, or athletes choosing not to respect the American flag or our national anthem.

I personally choose to be optimistic. I choose to be hopeful. I am grateful that by nature I have a happy, positive outlook in spite of all of the bad in the world. I think we create our own happiness, and we will find what we want — whether it is positive or negative.

For my column this week I chose to write a feel-good story.

One day last week, I returned to my office at the Prescott store to find an American flag lying on top of my desk. On top of the flag was a nest. Initially I didn’t realize there was a connection between the flag and the nest — literally.

It is not an uncommon occurrence for me to arrive at my office to find my desk piled with all kinds of stuff. Usually I have no idea where it came from, why it is there, or what I am supposed to do with it!

Well, certainly finding a flag on my desk fit in this category. I had no idea why it was there, and didn’t know what I was supposed to do with it. Then an employee pointed out that the nest was not just sitting on top of the flag — it was stitched into the stars of the flag!

Suddenly the flag on my desk took on a whole new meaning. This was something very unique and special. I knew instantly what I would do with the flag. I would write about it in my newspaper column. I would take pictures of it and put them in the newspaper and on Facebook. And, I would display the flag prominently in the store so others can marvel at the wonder of this amazing nest, stitched into our American flag.

With all of the disrespect in our country for our flag, I feel this was a little reminder of two things — the wonder of nature, and the magnificence of our great country. I have traveled to other continents and countries, and I am very grateful for my citizenship in this great country. I love our flag and I love our national anthem.

I am proud that every day we display an American flag outside our store, and now we will be displaying one inside our store as well. I invite you to come and look at this amazing, intricate oriole nest.

Contest

Our 2017 Wild Bird Photo Contest exhibit is now open to the public. It is probably the best collection of pictures we have ever had. I invite you to come to the store and cast your votes. I caution you — it will not be an easy task. Each year individuals make comments about how difficult it is to decide, and certainly this year is no different.

Variety

On another note, the variety of bird species occurring at Willow Lake is really spectacular right now. Many different varieties of migratory water birds are using the lake as a stopover point to refuel before continuing on their southward journey.

On Monday of this week there were 22 great egrets, at least eight black-crowned night herons and at least one green heron. I encourage you to take advantage of our lovely weather and get outdoors and visit our lakes.

Until next week, Happy Birding!

Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with three locations in northern Arizona – Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at eric@jaysbirdbarn.com.