Assistance Is Futile

Late last spring I came to the aid of three eggs that survived a jay attack of the nest the bushtits had built in our backyard Victorian box tree.

It’s the same story almost every year. The gregarious communal bushies work hard together to construct their pendulous nest, eggs are laid, and ultimately either jays or crows find and destroy it and any eggs.

Rarely are the bushies successful in getting a chick to fledge, but in the most amazing exhibition of persistence and perseverance, they never stop trying.

I knew it was futile, but I constructed a wire surround with some old raingutter cover and zip ties that would not win any design awards, but might-could possibly protect against any further corvid attacks. I carefully put what was left of the nest with the eggs inside it and hung it back up in the tree, hoping to draw the parents back.

I pulled it down today. If it had been revisited by any of the group, there was no evidence to support that. The three eggs were still inside, one was broken, perhaps by an opportunistic rodent, and two intact — so small that they fit on a quarter with room to spare. Here they are photographed under my 8x lupe.

Modeling myself on the bushies ability to bounce back, if I had to do it all over again, I would.