Carolina wren.jpg (copy) (copy)

The Carolina wren, the official state bird of South Carolina, builds nests that look like a ball of grass and fine roots.  Warren Peper is watching a bird's nest in his garage as a renewal of spring. Terri Bowman/Provided

Just to the right of the back entrance door to my house is a newly discovered bird’s nest. It is engineered to take advantage of a wall to the left and at the rear in a corner of the garage.

I get why mama bird built it there — it’s on a ledge and provides safety from any predators. I’ve asked the other humans to let this cycle of nature peacefully exist. I’ve promised to move it once this newly-created nursery serves its purpose.

This little one bedroom bungalow appeared out of nowhere. It had to have taken 3-4 days to build, but I never noticed it until it was finished.

What kind of bird built it? No idea. Maybe a sparrow, a thrush or a chickadee?

I had a quick encounter with mama bird as we startled each other recently. She flew around the garage for a few moments and I promised her I wouldn’t close or lock the door to the backyard so she could come and go as necessary.

Home, sweet home

I’ll keep going, at this point. I’m writing it, you’re still reading it ... so here’s more. The nest now has four tiny eggs.

The nest itself is quite a piece of construction. It’s mostly pine straw and small twigs and maybe a few strands of moss.

From what I can see, the inside is smooth and well-compacted. The shape is similar to a horn of plenty, but it’s closer to what I’d call a bugle of just enough.

I’m not touching it, even though my good friend, Mr. Google, tells me the whole notion of birds smelling a human’s touch is a myth. Adult birds identify their young just as humans do — by appearance and sound. Aren’t you glad you stopped by the aviary this morning?

Bird’s eye view

It’s been a few days since I spotted the eggs. I continue to leave the door open to the garage in case mama bird elects to make house calls.

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If the eggs hatch, we’ll see how long and endearing that racket will affect my compassion.

I feel like mama bird is still aware of things, even if I don’t always see her. After all, she went to a great deal of trouble to build this nest where she did and I’m not about to destroy it. Besides, just out the back door, there’s a bird grocery store in my backyard with insects, worms, seeds and berries suitable for hungry mouths. She didn’t put this nest where it is by accident.

This is just one more reason to appreciate spring. New life — new beginnings — unexpected happenings, it’s all part of a cycle of life that gets a chance to renew itself. These moments are happening all around us, not just in the corner of my garage.

Sometimes, though, these little life happenings make you wonder.

One late afternoon last week, two mallard ducks landed in the backyard. This is the third consecutive year this couple has returned for a springtime visit.

What’s the deal? Am I running a bird sanctuary here?

Reach Warren at

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