In this case, south is definitely relative. Ashland, Oregon is only the South in that it’s in southern Oregon, a fairly northern state.
Today I pruned the Oregon Berry bushes in the front yard. They’re hardy, thorny, glossy-leaved bushes, just about the only thing that thrives in our granite soil. They were growing against the house and I had delayed pruning them for too long. As I was pruning away, I noticed that one of the shorn branches had a nest hidden in it. I thought this must be one of last year’s nests, and tossed the branch, nest an all, onto the brush pile. I moved to the other side of the yard to prune, and noticed a mated pair of Stellar Jays fluttering over the bush I had just pruned. Then the male flew to the brush pile and started looking around near the nest. At that point, I realized that I had cut down their home. I was horrified.
I told my partner about the nest, and she also was horrified. She rushed to the garden shed and found a ball of twine. We removed the nest from the pruned branch and perched it in the crotch of a three-pronged branch, as high as possible, then secured it with the twine.
We moved away from the nest hoping that the jays would return, but, alas, there were gone. Eventually we went back to our chores. Then I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye — the female jay was in the nest and the male was perched on a branch above her. Then they both flew away.
We’re hoping that the jays will accept the nest and stay to raise a family. I realize that their original nest was perfect for them — they chose the precise location they felt safe in and built their home one twig at a time. As good as our intentions were, and as hard as we tried to duplicate their original nesting, I would not be surprised if they don’t like the new, more exposed position of the nest. They may decide to build their home in a friendlier neighborhood. Ah, as much as I understand how they must feel to lose their home and return to find it mangled, I would love for them to stay.