Bower-Birding: Curated Abundance

An article on birding here suggests that materials popular for building nests include:

Twigs or sticks; Dead leaves; Grass clippings or dead grass; Yarn, string or thread; Human hair or animal fur; Feathers; Cattail fluff; Moss or lichen; Pine needles; Mud; Pebbles or small rocks; Spider web silk; Straw or other plant stems; Dental floss; Shredded paper; Broom bristles or mop string; Cotton balls.

I like this list because it reads like modern poetry. It also sounds like an inventory of household detritus. I’m not a filthy person, really I’m not,  but sometimes clutter and debris just get away from me and my floors start looking like proto-nests. A penchant for crafting, a reticence to toss out scrap paper, a healthy Australian arachnid population – these are all contributors to my nest.

I’m like a magpie, I scavenge and collect – shiny things in particular. I like rhinestones, sure, but I also take my lustre in other ways. Glossy cookbooks, old glazed pottery, stacks of polished vintage Pyrex dishes. Enough to crowd every surface of my home. A potential disaster when combined with a distaste for dusting.

I don’t aspire to be a minimalist. My aesthetic is crowded, coloured and cheerful. But I wish to do away with the trash and the excess. To have enough room to put down a cup of coffee say, without leaving a brown ring on some discarded Paleo cookbook. The Paleo cookbooks can go I think. Too much pseudo-science, not enough pictures of crusty bread.

If I’m going to continue with these bird comparisons, and I am, I guess now’s the time to bring up the bower bird. Nature’s little curator. Not much to look at, but wow, have you seen his house?

Image source unknown

Everything so lovingly collected, displayed, painstakingly tidied. It’s what I’d like for my home.

It’s possible yes, but so difficult to get right. Even bower birds end up getting distracted by a design scheme for a while, and seeing treasures in trash…


Photo Philip Green found here
  1. It starts with noticing the space that surrounds you, seeing what is superfluous and editing it out. A space does not need to be minimalist to promote well-being, rather it can revolve around a sort of curated abundance with no unnecessary objects.

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