Amongst the branches of the miniature dome, they sing. I watch them flitting in and out of their hogan happily, busily. Some groups fly en masse to the bowl of bird seed in the front yard, another group will chat and catch up on the fence line, and yet another seem to be busy within the home, perhaps preparing for new babies or maybe they just got out of a town meeting.
I can hear them clearly through the thick, glass paned windows, and as the dawn breaks they begin to chant and chirp the loveliest, loudest songs to the sun. As I approach them on my way to the hen house, they fly up in a tornado of song and air. Exhilarating.
I shake my head when I see giant black trash bags of branches and yard clipping sitting in militant lines by garbage cans waiting to go to the dump. Such a waste. There they will never decompose. Here on our urban farm, we throw them into a pile. A large, haphazard pile (away from the eyes of the zoning lady down the street) behind a six foot fence. An eyesore? They are branches, for gods sake. Make use of them. They can be used for kindling or firewood or you can just let them be. We thought we would get a wood chipper and attend to them but the sparrows had another idea. As we threw the neatly clipped branches and larger weeds over the fence, blindly knocking leaves and clots of dirt into our eyes, they all landed in a great pile. The sparrows dive in and out perfect holes. A housekeeper I had said I ought to get rid of the mounds of wood because they invite mice. So we dubbed it the “Mouse House.” Haven’t seen any mice in there. They are too busy in the chicken coop. The mound gently settles each year and begins to decompose and we add more on. Nature makes use of all things, they do not throw things blindly into a landfill to suffocate the land.
The birds have created such a lovely haven out of those branches, carefully shaping them into lofts for hundreds of sparrows. And their uplifting songs and antics please me as I watch them. They make me laugh and smile. Such a gift to be amongst nature and all of its inhabitants.
(Tip: create a place next to your compost piles for items that break down slowly.)