I did some Googling this week to find out a bit of information about this nesting business of birds. What I found most interesting is that even birds have defined gender roles as they build their home. Most of the time, the female does the majority of the nest building. The male’s job is to find a safe and secure place for their nest, and to guard and protect the nest as she is working on it. He will also make soft little chirping sounds to encourage her as she arranges all the little bits and pieces of grass, sticks, and leaves that form the nest’s structure. Once the structure is complete, something soft is needed to line the nest… moss, soft grasses, hairs, yarn, and … feathers.
The female contributes most of the feathers for the nest lining, but the males often add a few as well. The feathers not only add softness, but warmth… from the feathers themselves, and also from the mother bird’s breast. We have chickens here on Thistle Dew Farm, and when a hen goes “broody,” she actually plucks the feathers from her breast so the eggs can directly touch her warm skin. And boy, does she make a fuss if you try to remove any of those eggs or newly hatched chicks!
Thinking about feathering a nest… and re-feathering it… brought me to the point of “why?” Why go to all the trouble of making a house a home? Would it be just as functional without all the extra fluff? I don’t think so. We need those soft spots in our homes to make us feel all warm and cozy and loved. All those “bits of me,” the soft feathers plucked from tender spots, along with a few Hubby feathers, make our home something more than form and function.
Nest building also has somewhat of an implication of expectation. Birds feather their nest in expectation of a family to fill it. Most young couples starting out probably have that in the back of their minds also. But what about once the chicks have flown? I don’t want our home to be like the abandoned nests we sometimes find tucked in the branches of a tree. I hope we can re-feather it… in expectation… of… Something. I’d still like it to be a place of rest and welcome…
For us… Hubby and me.
For family and friends.
For the occasional stranger.
For whatever the Lord wants us to do with it.
Speaking of nest-feathering… Cheryl, over at Thinking About Home, is focusing on “Making a House a Home” these next 31 Days! Her home is one of the coziest nests I’ve ever visited and she can make a great pot of coffee to boot! If you get a chance, go visit her blog this month… I know there will be some great ideas! There’s also some more wonderful posts to be found at The Nester! Scroll down to find some more participants!