A Word from Nancy -

Red-billed Pigeon/ Paloma Piquirroja-

March 2024     

Red-billed Pigeon/ Paloma Piquirroja

“The idea of the nest is in the bird’s mind, But where does it come from?” - Joseph Joubert

After the canoodling of February, there’s a nest to be built. Birds have an innate knowledge of when and where to build, what materials to use, and how to put things together. As humans, we too have eons of embedded knowledge that help us survive. But you only have to look around you to see that, in addition to evolutionary and cultural wisdom (some of which isn’t so wise), we also have the gift of creativity, the ability to look forward with hope toward a better future.

One of my grandmothers once told me that her secret for a long life was to always have something to look forward to. And as is so often the case, modern science is now catching up with grandmotherly wisdom. The wording can be dry (“anticipatory utility”), but the benefits are juicy. Here are a few quotes, with links to the full articles to be added later:


• “Having something to look forward to is a keystone of well-being. Anticipation of future reward, such as an upcoming vacation, can often be more gratifying than the experience itself.” here

• “Anticipating a smattering of small, delightful experiences can be as enjoyable as looking forward to one big event…At the end of everyday, write down one thing you’re excited for tomorrow,...Maybe it’s a new book, or getting pastries, or a package you’re expecting.” here

• If you need some ideas for things you could add to your life to look forward to, here’s a list of 28 possibilities.

During the pandemic I found myself reluctant to plan ahead. I think I had some sort of primitive belief that it might jinx the future. Well, I’m putting that behind me. I’ve got big and little events on my calendar, along with lots of free time to just be present and appreciate all that I already have.

By the way, I had never heard of Joseph Joubert until I searched for “nest” quotes. He lived in France from 1754-1824; here is a link to some of his quotes. Reading them makes me think it would have been great fun to share a glass of wine and an afternoon of conversation with him.

There is surprisingly little known about the Red-billed Pigeon. They are found in Central America and Mexico, with some living in the very southern part of Texas. The monogamous pairs work as a team while building a nest: one flies to collect twigs while the other remains on site and puts things together. Apparently the arrangement is pretty casual, with open twigs sometimes allowing a view from below. They lay only one egg, and take turns incubating it, with the female taking the night shift and the male taking over during the day.







I took this month’s photo last March here at Finca Flor de Paz. The pigeon spent hours over several days collecting sticks and flowering twigs (for decorating?). These building materials were airlifted into a nearby tree-top but I respected their privacy and never did see the nest.

I took dozens of photos but will spare you and only share one additional one: 

Brown Pelican in Costa Rica

Here is one more photo, of a pair getting ready to take their early morning bath:


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