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Feathering your Nest

02.17.11 Feathering your Nest

It's amazing to see so many people out walking after what felt like months of hibernation here in the midwest. I was surprised to hear birds chirping outside the window at work-- I actually looked around to see if the sound was coming from one of the computers. I know, there's still more cold weather to come but these last few days were a lovely reminder of what's on the horizon.

I think it's common as spring approaches, that most people like the idea of "cleaning out" or revamping the nest. Our homes are often meant to reflect who we are and what we like. We tend to organize our collections and display objects of meaning in order to connect with other people and create an aesthetic home.

Apparently human beings aren't the only ones who do this. I remembered reading a fascinating article in National Geographic about bowerbirds and how they build these incredibly elaborate bowers in order to attract females. Using stones, dead beetles, leaves, glass, flowers and even paperclips, the bowerbirds obsessively collect materials for the sole purpose of decorating and "pulling down a Mary" (yes, the female bowerbird is called a Mary). In Papua, New Guinea, "the males of 17 of the 20

known species of bowerbirds build structures--often resembling an arbor or bower, with an artfully decorated platform". Evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond calls them, "the most intriguingly human of birds". Females, in turn, are extremely picky about which male they choose to mate with--since they don't share in the duties of building a nest or raising the chicks together, she better get some good genes.

Now seems like the perfect time to spruce up  your nest, re-organize your space and make some changes. Some of my ideas for rejuvenating your space: Replace old smelly towels with mildew-resistant bamboo kitchen towels. Organize the pantry and upgrade storage containers to lidded glass storage in a multitude of sizes. Choose a new and safe stainless steel or glass water bottle. Start a compost pail in preparation for your summer garden. Try out a new toxic-free yoga mat while getting your winter limbs loose.

How do you feather or re-feather your nest?

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