Harmony in the Garden Blog

Old tools, old memories, and a little bird

On the side of my office hangs a collection of old tools, pots, sprinklers, etc. that I’ve gathered over the years.  Most were given to me by my grandparents or parents, some were found at garage sales, and others given as gifts.  All, however, are precious to me as each one represents a piece of my life.

Every few years, I’ll find a little bird attempting to make a nest in one of the birdhouses, with little success.  I think it’s because these decorative nests aren’t  made with birds in mind, so the entrance holes are usually too high, or too small, or the wrong diameter.

For the most part, the birds in my garden prefer to find their own nests, instead of using the ones purchased for them, and are often found in the most unpredictable places.

This year is no exception and has to be my very favorite nest of all!



For some reason, it took me awhile to clue in to all the noise going on around me. Every time I walked near my potting bench, which is located directly across from my wall of tools, a little Junco would follow me around, endlessly badgering me.

I knew there must be a nest around somewhere, so after looking in all the obvious places, I finally spied what I thought would make the perfect nesting spot – my dad’s old fishing creel!  Could it be?  Could this bird be that clever? Was his mate hiding inside?


As I quietly inched closer and closer, I finally caught the little Junco in the act!

If you look closely at the top of the basket, you’ll see his mate scrambling out of a gap in the dry, cracked leather.



After taking a quick peek inside, I quickly closed the lid, knowing I surely found the most perfect nesting spot ever.


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  • OH WOWOWOW, and I guess I’ve never seen the color of Junco eggs before. They’re lovely, but even more so in the creel. Love this so much. Maybe I should hang my Grandpa’s willow creel outside with a Junco welcome sign on it?

    Sending love,


    • Welcome home, Sharon! I definitely thought of you when I wrote this one, Sharon! If you hang your grandfather’s creel outside make sure you remember to take it in once winter hits. Alas, I’ve forgotten and my creel is now barely hanging on. It’s now become the official Junco nesting site instead!

  • I love the way you led us to the bird’s nest and eggs through the progression of pics, Rebecca. Thanks for the post. I, too, am smiling. Lynn

  • Too much fun! And how exciting you caught it in the act.

    But let me tell you about a quite possibly equally clever nesting place: We had a canyon wren under the rafters in the women’s bath house at Tassajara. The women didn’t notice, and the jays didn’t fit. I saw the babies fly the very day I left.

  • I love it! No wonder the Juncos are so gosh darned successful. Here they tend to be one of the very few species that seem to be able to evade the Jays and various other predators to the point that we actually see fledglings in the garden. I must admit, the nest in the creel really is the most adorable nest I’ve seen in a while, and with eggs too!

    • Juncos are definitely wiley, aren’t they? It’s a miracle we even have doves any longer they’re so darn…well, how shall I put it….’simple’. The nest I wrote about a few weeks ago was decimated by something, which didn’t come as a huge shock as it was only about 5 feet off the ground, right next to 2 different containers that a raccoon/rat/cat could stand on. Poor doves. Smart juncos.

    • Ha! I knew there’d be a few cynics out there who would think I staged this (I don’t blame you – I’d think the same thing!) That’s why I was so excited when I got the ‘action shot’ of mama-bird!

  • I love this! Adorable nest you found in such an awesome spot!


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