The nest has lain dormant all winter. It is small, seeming a perfect cone with pointed side down, nestled within the crotch of three large branches of a naked tree, around twenty feet above the pavement.
It is early April and the nest’s builders, a pair of magpies, have returned. They are refurbishing it after the long winter’s assaults upon it. The temperatures are still mostly below freezing, but the birds are not deterred from their resolute occupation.
Their tree and others like it were planted a few decades ago by the builders of this neighborhood of well maintained apartments. The trees and buildings surround the Minneberg bus station, the gathering point for travel to and from nearby Stockholm City and beyond. This morning’s early travelers are the workday commuters. I am on my way to exercise at a club.
The bus will arrive in five minutes. I am captivated by the furious activity of the skata. They dash between the nest and nearby trees where they collect twigs and branches which suit their plan. Branches, some twice as long as the bird, are inspected, poked and prodded until one is selected and taken from the tree, snapped neatly by a twist of the head.
It is difficult to navigate, with a long branch in her beak, from the middle of a tree into the space between the trees and thence to the center of the nesting tree. One was forced by interfering branches to drop hers to the ground. Since she had so carefully chosen it, I thought she might retrieve it from the ground. She doesn’t, and I speculate on the reasons why Nature may have dictated that she shouldn’t.
Sometimes both birds are in the nest, each with branches they have captured, interweaving them collaboratively with those already laid in.
The bus arrives and I reluctantly enter it, regretting that I can’t interrupt my routine to continue watching the construction project.
It seems nature’s plan
that I should travel away
from the nesting birds