Friday, January 10, 2014

Nature IS Nurture

I was sitting in the little corner oasis in my garden. I am especially fond of this spot as I made it myself. I didn’t use a landscaper, I had a vision, I had a loose plan, and I made it happen. The plants are shade loving semi-tropical and hardy and I’ve created a tiny micro climate of sorts. It’s my space where I often just go and sit and ‘be’. I think it’s important to have a place where you can ‘be’ and nothing else.

(view looking up)


(view looking out - can see you find bubba bird?) 

Birds come to my garden because I provide them with large bushy shrubs and multiple water supplies. I have a large bird bath, a pond in a pot in my corner oasis, and I have a small water tray and a larger pond. Water is so important for life.

So, as I sat and was busy ‘being’ I was watching a family of butcher birds. Normally they are quite shy retired birds, but the family in my garden are quite confident. Very different to the ones at my parent’s place about 35kms away ... These birds also have to deal with my dog who doesn’t like birds in our garden much ... He tends to bark carry on and chase them away. As a result I don’t get any ground grazing crested pigeons. I get noisy miners, butcher birds, and magpies mainly. They all bring their offspring to my garden where they have to learn to be quick and resourceful.

I was watching the baby practising life. She was sitting in a hanging basket which had a Hoya and some large leaves from the tree above in it.  She was picking up leaves and turning them and moving them around and snuggling in and rearranging and she did this for a good 15-20 minutes. Her father (darker almost black and white) was in the tree above her. He was singing. Her mother (grey and white like she) was on the ground.

(bubba bird having a drink)

(pappa bird looking for bugs)

I was just mesmerised by what this little bird was doing ... she was being a child ... she was learning about life doing what it is she was inclined to do ... it was practising and it was learning but it was living life more than anything else. There was no one in her face taking her picture or asking her what she was doing. She was just being a young bird exploring leaves and what she could do with them.  She was connected to her world, she was developing important skills which I assume would help her in her nest building endeavours when she grows. She was also learning how to use her beak to manipulate tools. She was chattering away which I took to be self-talk. She could have been talking to her parents. She was engaging in life and learning and all the outcomes that we attribute to children in our work were there, happening in front of me with a little bird.

The mother also fascinated me. She was pecking at a spent flower head which was on the ground. I imagine insects were inside and she was eating them. She pecked and pecked. It’s a rather large flower head which is in a cone shape and it is a tall plant called a Justicia.

(momma bird after the flower head had finally dropped)

 What she did next really amazed me. She picked up the flower head and put it in the fork of the flower stems where it had come from. Once it was wedged she back pulling it apart. It would then fall to the ground again. She did this a few more times. Then she picked it up and flew up to the callistemon tree under which I was sitting. There she wedged it again, higher up, and in thicker branches an she continued to pick it apart, eating what she found there, bits of flower dropping below.


There is genius to be seen in nature. So there I sat, connecting with nature and the world around me, watching these little creatures learn about life, or living life, not merely surviving, but thriving in my little modest garden.

Why can’t we have this same peace and harmony at work? I think maybe this is a possibility, we just have to create it, and fight for it.

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