Operation Nest Protection: A Look Back at the Spring When the Garage was for the Birds

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bird nest

Photo credit: Dennis Larsen via Pixabay

Spring is a time for new beginnings. Spring gives us the chance to shake off the dust of the past, walk through the showers of the present and step onto a path freshly paved with rock-solid plans for the future. Spring also provides us with an opportunity to look at who we are and where we’re going, and to remind ourselves of what is truly important. I remember well the spring of 2012, when our family was presented with an interesting adventure: one that involved a small bird, a well-used garage and a poorly chosen construction site. This springtime adventure taught us valuable lessons about the gift of life and the beauty of simple goodness.

It all started one sunny day in April as I was leaving the house to run errands. Walking through the garage, I was startled by a bird that came flying at me from my husband’s workroom. The little bird circled a couple of times around the garage and then flew out into the open air. I slowly approached the workroom and peeked inside. And there it was: a half-built nest situated in a shallow, plastic container of paintbrushes on a wooden shelf. The bird had found what she thought was the perfect spot – away from wind and rain, and (seemingly) hidden from danger and pesky neighbors. The poor creature had no idea that in selecting the Boyd garage as her building location, she had actually chosen the suburban equivalent to Grand Central Station.

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I knew just what we had to do. We would have to implement “Operation Nest Protection” for however long it would take to ensure that our new garage tenant was safe and comfortable.

The first thing I had to do was share my discovery with the rest of the family. I lifted up each of my children so they could see the nest in its early stages of development. We talked about how the bird would come back, bringing sticks, pine needles, grass and leaves to complete her home and what a testimony “nest-building” is to the amazing world in which we live. I also told them that if the nest reached completion, we might end up with baby birds, which – in the minds of my children – took the whole situation to a higher level of urgency. Then, we brainstormed about what we could do to help our new feathered friend in her efforts. Together, we decided that she would have to have full access to her newly claimed real estate. That meant the garage door would need to remain open – at least partially – so that she could fly in and out. We also agreed that we couldn’t bother her, because if she felt threatened, she might leave her nest and never come back.

bird nest

Photo credit: Ingrid Bischler via Pixabay

It only took a couple of days for our garage bird to finish her nest, and just a few days later, she was perched on top of three tiny eggs. The next two weeks were exciting times for our family, as we would sneak peeks at the eggs when the bird was away, always quick to get in and out before she came back. Finally, the day came that the eggs hatched and the precious “chirp-chirp” of hungry baby birds floated from the workroom, into the garage and fell on the ears of three deliriously happy children. We saw our mission through to the end, which came the day our garage bird decided it was time for her babies to leave the nest. We were able to help all three babies hop from the confining walls of the garage and soar into a world of freedom and flight!

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Looking back, “Operation Nest Protection” served a much greater purpose in the hearts of my children that spring. It taught them that life – all life – has value. They learned that little creatures matter, and that they have a responsibility to care for them and protect them. It taught them that doing something simply for the benefit of another (even a bird), without the expectation of “paybacks,” feels good, and is good. I love that my children have grown up to be compassionate people – something not easily instilled with words, but rather through springtime adventures like “Operation Nest Protection,” where a small bird found value and goodness on the shelf of a garage workroom.

About the Author: Lori Boyd lives with her husband, Sam, and their three children in Murfreesboro. She is a registered nurse and a high school teacher at Middle Tennessee Christian School. Quiet mornings and mugs of coffee, cozy blankets and good books, and family adventures of any sort are among her most favorite things.

1 Comment

  1. Emily Robinette

    February 28, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Beautiful story and good life lesson for the kids

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