A Word from Nancy - August 2022 - Rufous-naped Wren

Rufous-naped Wren

What if my song isn’t good enough?

"The perfect is the enemy of the good"


This year, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I chose a focus word: create. This past week, while on vacation in Seattle, Dan and I had the good fortune to experience two amazing examples of creativity : Chihuly Garden and Glass and the musical Hamilton. After studying with the masters in Murano, Italy, Dale Chihuly went on to push the limits of what can be done with glass. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, caused us to rethink American History, and current events, through the lens of many musical styles, and the eyes of immigrants (“We get the job done”)

One of the many themes in Hamilton is the timidity of Aaron Burr, who is presented as being hesitant to pursue any given action, while waiting to see what those in power are going to do. I’m very familiar with a similar feeling: concern over how others might react to my creative efforts. That is the underlying reason a number of my recent monthly updates have been late: waiting for the “perfect” inspiration before I start writing.

So, if this is an issue for you, I invite you to join me in my modified 2022 focus: create without fear of failure. Who knows what gifts we have to give the world?


This month’s photo was taken in March 2021 at our beautiful Finca Flor de Paz in Costa Rica. I am calling the bird a Rufous-naped Wren, although as is so often the case with bird names, some professionals have re-named it the Rufous- backed Wren. I guess continual renaming might be a form of creativity.

This Wren and her partner built their characteristic spherical nest, with a side entrance, just outside our balcony. As far as we can tell, they never used it. Apparently this is not unusual for this species: they will build several nests but only use one of them for laying and hatching eggs. Then, after the young ones hatch, the family sleeps together in a dormitory nest. So: we humans are not the only species to sometimes have two homes.

Rufous-naped wren in her characteristic spherical nest

Rufous-naped wren in her characteristic spherical nest

Another photo taken at our Finca. Many of the stunning bird photos you see are taken at lodges with extensive feeding stations. They often have food, like these platanos, with natural branches wired up nearby for the birds to perch on while waiting their turn to eat. After returning home after a trip with fellow photographers, I asked Dan to make me one and he, as always, got right to it. Here you see three Wrens enjoying our first attempt. The entire assembly of platano hanger and branch are on a pulley that allows me to raise and lower the whole thing. Once raised into place, I can sit on the balcony enjoying coffee while the birds have their breakfast. I have other photos where the birds are out at the end of the branch and the “bait” doesn’t show, but I wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look.


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