My Nano Patch

             My Nano Patch – Nest Building

March and April have been busy months in my garden.  

Not only am I spending more time nurturing the plants to get them
ready for their optimum display of blooms, the birds are also
responding to the warming and lengthening days by busily nesting in
different trees.  

This year, the doves chose a Live Oak in the front yard; the Mocking
Birds favored a Lagustrum nearby.  As usual, the tiny House Finches
returned to their Italian Cypress in the back yard – this was their 4th
year in a row returning to the Italian Cypress.  

I wondered if there was a correlation between the species of birds
with the type of trees they favored for nest-sites.  In general, it
seems the bigger the birds, the less hidden are their homes.  The
doves’ nest was the most conspicuous.  It doesn’t take trained eyes
to spot it.  Besides, the clumsy movement of the male dove shuttling
building material leads you right to the site where the female takes
over the construction responsibility.  

The smaller Mocking Birds needed a bit more camouflage.  The
evergreen Lagustrum afforded them just the right amount of cover
they desired.  It takes more effort to spot their nest and follow their
building activities.  

By far, the most secretive are the tiny House Finches.  Once they
disappear into the evergreen Italian Cypress, they are gone.  The
dense foliage of this conifer gives them the perfect shelter they
require.  Perhaps it is a perception of their own vulnerability that
gives them the sense to seek the densest shelters.  

The House Finches remind me of David who always finds perfect
shelter in the Lord – “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me; for
my soul taketh refuge in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I
take refuge in Thee…” (Ps 57:1a).  

What a wonderful picture David portrays for us of what a normal
Christian should be.  David’s refuge, fortress, high tower and trust is
the Lord, not his own might, wisdom, power, skills or kingship.  In the
New Testament, Paul gives a defining statement of Christian life:
“when I am weak, then I am strong.”  The Lord works to bring our
natural power, talent and abilities…to nothing so that His power,
wisdom and abilities can readily be manifested through a humbled and
surrendered vessel.  

Only a humbled and surrendered vessel is content to seek refuge in
Christ and happy to dwell in obscurity under the shadow of His wings.  

The hallmark of a spiritual man is his humility.  Whether he takes
refuge “in the shadow of His (Lord’s) wings” determines his true
spiritual stature and power.  Regrettably, most Christians choose to
seek outward and soulical powers, hype and grandeur.  

For sure, David also portrays the aspect of power, authority, triumph,
reigning and glory.  But, keep in mind that his power, authority,
triumph, reigning and glory come from his humility – his trusting NOT
in himself but in the Lord, and his hiding in the “secret place of the
Most High.”  So echoes his New Testament counterpart, Paul: “When I
am weak, then I am strong.”  

Our present day humility has everything to do with our eventual
reigning in the kingdom.  Take heed in the example in lowly House
Finches.  

One other observation: with each year’s home-building, the birds
might return to the same site, as the House Finches have done, but
they always collected new building material for the nest.  They never
settled for the old home, or re-used old building material.  

It is the same in the spiritual realm, God never settles for old
material.  

C.A. Coates put it best: “There must be a new start altogether with
new material.  God rejects old material altogether and begins entirely
new, and the one who is born-again begins to learn the true character
of the old material – all that he is as a child of Adam and a man in
the flesh – and to be as dissatisfied with it as God is.  You may see
this in Job and Saul of Tarsus.  One of them said, “I abhor myself,”
and the other said, “I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth
no good thing.”   Such language as this is a mark of one born-again.  
He identifies himself with that new “inward man” which is of God, and
he judges everything of a contrary nature to be sin.  In itself this is
not a happy experience. It is not very pleasant for one who has been
self-sustained and self-satisfied in a moral and religious life to find
that there is not one bit of good in him” (None But the Hungry
Heart).  

Finally, the sound of hungry hatchlings announced the emergence of
new live.  The feeding routines of the adult birds gradually ratcheted
up into a frenzy.  With each passing day, the noise level of the hungry
chicks rose with my anticipation of meeting the fledglings soon.  

One day, a strange alarming sound of the House Finches alerted me
to suspect that something had gone wrong in the nest.  

I began to notice the sound of a chick somewhere below the nest.  
Each time a parent bird dove into the tree, about two feet below their
normal entry point, the feeding sound of a lone chick would start,
suggesting a chick had fallen out of the nest and separated from the
rest of the fledglings.  

Did he think he was ready for flight?  Was he lured by the excitement
of the blue yonder?  Did he tire of the same old coup?  

Whatever happened, now the parents had to double their effort to
stand guard for the wayward child and make sure he got his share of
feedings.  

A couple of days later, I finally met the unhappy camper.  Now he was
completely down from the thick shelter of the conifer and sat
nervously five feet off the ground on a branch in my Bougainvillea
which Dan and Carolyn gave us several years ago.  

As I approached, he struggled to take flight only to descend further.  
The poor thing had not developed enough muscle and strength, and
simply was not ready to leave the nest.  With the fluffy baby downs
dangling from the flight feathers, he looked pathetically comical.  

The parent birds’ frantic calls kept the chick relatively calm.  They kept
coming down to feed him, and at the same time they still had a nest
full of hungry ones 20 feet above to tend to.  I could imagine the
stress this unfortunate venture had caused the entire family.  

By the end of the day, the wayward chick had gained enough strength
to get up ten feet off the ground and lodged in the Red Bud Tree.  
This was a safe distance from the roaming cats in the neighborhood.  
I felt a lot better.  

We all make mistakes.  Perhaps some more than others, but by His
grace, we can all learn from each mistake and repent and press on.  
True repentance produces humility which is a mark of lesson learned.  

March and April have been busy months in my garden.  Slowly, I am
beginning to learn something about the Lord and about myself.  

Oliver Peng
05/22/05