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  • drannetta

What do compassionate, death literate communities have in common with a bird's nest?

I discovered the answer on the Arthur River this week.
A landscape of the Arthur River in north-west Tasmania, featuring an extra-large tree with a huge birds next in a fork of the biggest tree.
The sea eagle's nest is an estimated 70 years old, and is continually occupied. Hint: look closely at the biggest tree trunk in the centre of the picture.

Hubs and Self took a trip on the stunning Arthur River in north west Tasmania this week (thank you Hubs! This was a lovely day out he researched, planned and booked for us as a treat), and we went on the Red Boat with Arthur River Cruises which I highly recommend. The captain Emma and her crewmate Lee gave a good deal of information about native botany and birds, the local history, and the Arthur River area in general. One of the first points of interest is a huge sea eagle nest that is reckoned to be around 70 years old, and Lee gave a detailed explanation of how the nest, birds and tree together have grown stronger and bigger over the decades because of their interconnection. Naturally, this got me thinking about the parallels with death literacy and strong compassionate communities.


Allow me to explain, Gentle Reader.


The sea eagle mates for life, and when either the male or female dies, they will re-mate and keep using the same nest. This nest, in the centre of the picture above, is an estimated 70 or so years old, and measures some 2 metres by 3 metres. As the nest is always occupied, the droppings of the resident mated pair and their chicks all fall in a concentrated area around the roots of the tree. This makes the tree stronger, bigger, and more resilient than it's neighbours who do not have the same nutrient input - and the nest tree goes from strength to strength.


As the presence of the large birds keeps away potentially less helpful residents the tree has the luxury of a consistent nutrient source from the birds who occupy the nest. The high-quality food supply helps the tree grow bigger and stronger than average, and a higher resiliency is the result.


When we have good, consistent death literacy around us we too become stronger and more resilient, so find your nest today!

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