Let’s recall that I’ve followed a pair of magpies building a nest (4 March post). We know it will be big, and that the female will decide how many eggs to lay and how long to brood them based on what she thinks of her partner’s nest building commitment.
Several weeks ago, when the nest had the size and look of a worn tire of a compact car, I thought it was finished (see 11 March post); but a few days later I found it enlarged. It had taken on a form—nearly spherical—like an apartment of Bucky Fuller’s dreams—and I took this photograph. The nest had a diameter of a good two feet.
The winds became ferocious a few days ago. On campus, people watched the trees, leery of their tops twisting-off, as they walked past them. I wondered whether the magpies’ nest would survive the tossing and thrashing.
I can hear them: “Clack! Harold!! The roof is going to come off this nest. Do something!
“Clack, clack, clack I can’t fly in this. I’d lose my clacking feathers!”
“O clack! I’ll fix it.” And she flies out and around the neighbor until she sees a woodpile. A log, she thinks, that will do the trick. And she takes from the woodpile the heaviest log she can lift, flies it back to the nest, and puts it on the nest’s roof to provide enough weight to hold their abode together.
When I checked on the nest after the storm, I found a few clutches of twigs had fallen but most remarkable was the log on top of the nest (see arrow in the photograph below). This log is four inches in diameter and a foot in length—it must weight at least two pounds—and it’s not in the photograph of the nest that I took before the storm. How I wish I could have seen this log carried and added to the nest by the magpies.