Who would have thought a termite nest in a tree could serve a beautiful purpose? Not me!
A Termite Nest in a Tree? Yuck!
“You have termites,” the exterminator told us. He had come to give us a quote on cockroach extermination, and we’d shown him some strange lines on the bathroom walls.
“How do you get rid of them?” I asked with a shudder. I don’t appreciate crunchy, crawly things that can launch themselves in the air.
“We have to tent the house and fog it. You’ll have to move out for three or four days.”
Fortunately, we had vacation plans already. We gave the exterminator the go-ahead to work his magic on our termite problem (which also took care of the cockroach problem).
Decades later, Pedro and I walked with a birding guide through an arid forest in Jalisco, Mexico. We’d heard Citreoline Trogons calling all morning, but I had yet to get any decent photos. “Anita, Pedro! Look over here,” the guide called out.
She pointed to a low arbor of tree branches, and we saw a beautiful female Citreoline Trogon watching us. As I snapped photos, the guide whispered, “There’s a male, and he’s working on the nest!”
It took me a while to spot the male. “How is he building the nest,” I wanted to know.
“He uses his beak to carve out a termite nest in a tree,” she explained.
First of all, I had no idea termites built nests in trees. And second, how cool that a bird uses a termite nest to create something beautiful. The guide (a biologist) wasn’t sure if the termite nests in the trees were occupied by the insects or abandoned.
We Can’t Judge Others
I would never want to build my nest inside a termite nest in a tree (but I’m not a bird). Every species has its own style and criteria for choosing a nest, from the hummingbird’s tiny, expandable nests to the bald eagle’s giant stick nest. Bald eagles have queen-sized bed nests, and a hummer nest fits nicely between the fork of a wooden clothespin.
I find it easy to slip into my Judgy McJudgerton skin and criticize the ways other people do things. Mostly because they don’t do things the way I would do them. How silly of me. After all, a hummingbird doesn’t need a queen-sized bed nest for her jelly-bean-sized eggs.
Contemplating nests this spring has helped me understand the need to appreciate the variety of life and how we operate differently.
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