A Coot's Nest in Herengracht

When I look out of my window at Herengracht I see a fine example of recycling: a coot’s nest made of branches and everything else that floats in our canals. Every spring again it amazes me to see what we leave behind so carelessly and how these little black birds with their proud white facial shields re-use our garbage to build the perfect nest.

This particular coot couple squatted down on a small wooden board, that my neighbor had tied to the railing, and set to work at full tilt. They’ve been bustling and building their nest for ages it seems, schlepping in more and more wrappers and bags, plastic bottles, branches, some of it considerably larger than life. A couple of weeks ago they must have been satisfied with their hard work, because they nestled comfortably in Chez Caboodle. I haven’t been able to make out if they were rejoiced by offspring, and this morning the coot couple ‘left the building’, so I guess I will never know.

What I do know is that Chez Caboodle will slowly but surely deteriorate to being merely debris floating about in Herengracht. Or maybe, just maybe, another coot couple will spot it and rebuild it, and by doing so lengthen the life cycle of our leftovers.