Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rookie Housekeeper

About 4 or 5 years ago, I had my first run-in with a bird. It was a little starling. Apparently the bucket of artificial flowers on my front door was a nice, sheltered spot and she made her nest right there.

We knew it was there and chose to do nothing about it.

Until, one day, I opened the front door and she was apparently sitting on the nest, as mama birds tend to do. However, the movement of the door startled her (understandably) and she flew out of the nest.

Unfortunately I had the door as wide open as it could possibly be. And she flew in the house.

She flew right through the house, in fact, heading for the trees out back.

Unfortunately for her, there were windows between her and those trees. Apparently her eyesight was failing…I don’t judge. It happens to the best of us.

So, because she didn’t see the window, she smacked right into it and knocked herself out.
I though, for sure, that she was dead.

So I went out to the garage to get some gloves.

Actually…I’m getting ahead of myself. After I ran around screaming for a few second (let’s be honest…it scared me too), I called Mr. Always Random (because he was at work, 45 minutes away…he was going to be TONS of help).

Actually, he didn’t have that adrenaline rush going so he was able to think a little clearer than I. “Get some work gloves from the garage and carry it out back to the trees.”

So that’s what I did…went out to the garage to get some work gloves.

However, when I returned, the bird was not where I had left her. She was hopping around my living room.

And, oh yes, she’d pooped on the carpet too.

Just kept getting better.

So by then, I had some sense and knew exactly what to do.

Not really…I called Mr. Always Random again. And did what he said. I’m really not this little perfect “yes sir” wife as this story seems to make me out to be. If you know me, you already know that’s not the case.

I closed all the bedroom doors, opened up all the doors to the house (we didn’t have Indy yet…good thing b/c he’s a runner and would have bolted. But I would not have cared at that point. I had bigger fish to fry).

By this point, the bird was in the kitchen and using a broom, I was able to coax her out the back door.

That’s a funny sentence…I left it in because it makes me laugh. I removed a comma, so now it implies that the bird was using a broom.

Phew. Grammar humor…don’t you love it?

Anyway…I was using a broom to coax her out the back door.

And it worked. And I only had to clean up a couple spots of bird poop. For a moment, with all her scared flying, I had visions of it being EVERYWHERE.

But alas, I was spared.

The bucket immediately came down off the front door, and unfortunately she did not get to see her eggs come to their intended end.

I felt badly about that. But not bad enough to risk another potential run-in with the mama.

All this rambling brings me to the point I intended to make…which is that birds, for some reason, like our home and seem to enjoy building nests in its various nooks and crannies.  Yes, in addition to the light on the back porch, the curves of the downspouts also, apparently, make great nesting sites for the local robins and their kin. Lucky us.

For the past two summers (this being the third one), we’ve enjoyed mama robins building nests on top of the light next to our back door.

Sure. It makes a mess, as I’m certain you can imagine. Between the bird droppings and the stray pieces of grass (or fishing line…who knows where she found that) trailing down the side…it is a messy process.

But how cute it this?

And yes, we try not to go in and out of that door too often, especially while she’s sitting on her eggs.

In fact, the first year, we tried to stop the madness before it began. Numerous times in the evenings, over the course of a couple weeks, we took down whatever she had built during the day.

But she was a determined little mama and in the end, her tenacity won out.

OK, we actually just got tired of fighting with her. She’s like any woman: she knew what she wanted and was determined to have it. That was/is apparently a great spot for a nest and she was bound to win it.

And she did.

In fact, she liked it so much, that she tried to lay 2 clutches of eggs…which we discovered the hard way… is possible if the stars align correctly.

OK, it clearly has nothing to do with the stars aligning, but sometimes they just lay 2 or even 3 clutches over the course of the summer.

Who knew? Well, we didn’t until…

After she’d had her first clutch and they all fledged, the nest sat empty for a while.


No one home.

So we thought.

So with a little bit of sadness (can you tell what a wreck I’ll be when my own chicks fly the coop? I was a little misty when those baby robins whom I’d only seen grow for a few weeks flew away.), I had Mr. Always Random take down the nest. He put it in a nearby tree, mostly so we could still see it (because frankly it was a pretty nice nest…she’d done a lovely job on it and I hated to throw it out.

Again, you may see me on “Hoarders” some day. Though for the record, last week, I was in the mood to give away some stuff…10 boxes I took to Goodwill. And NOT shoebox size, thank you very much. These were good sized moving boxes.

So anyway, a few days later, on the ground underneath the light, there was a broken (obviously) robin’s egg.

Hmmm…that’s curious. We cleaned it up and went in our way.

The next day, there was another one.

Hmmm…curious again. Better Google that.

As I think about it, perhaps we crossed the homeschooling line of no return two years ago…

And that’s when we learned about the multiple clutches.

So quickly, my husband put his gloves on and put the nest back up on top of the light. But it was too late. She wasn’t fooled.

She knew it had been touched.

Though I can imagine her thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to lay this egg and I KNOW I left that nest right here. Even though I can’t see it, I’m certain that’s where it is.”


Poor mama. I get a little misty over that too. Don’t judge.

Last year, the mama made her nest but never laid any eggs. In fact, all the nests around our house were never the proud homes to any babies. 

And yes, we Googled why those nests were abandoned. It was more than likely due to the drought and extreme heat.

I’m certain that you wanted to know that. You. Are. Welcome.

So, we arrive at this year.

And believe me when I say this, I’m really not criticizing, because I hate to criticize the animal kingdom. Other people? No problem. Animals? Seems superfluous to do. Unless it’s Indy. I’m take no issue with criticizing him.

Anyway…I think, perhaps, something may have happened to our back-porch robin of years past.  And based on what I’m seeing, I think it’s a rookie we have with us this time.

After several days (more like a couple weeks, in fact), this is what the nest looks like on top of the light.

And this is what the ground below looks like, without us touching a thing. She's done this all on her own.

And I know I shouldn’t judge because what would my home look like if I had to build it out of mud and found objects. And only have my beak to carry things and my wing to push things into place (BTW I did look that up…shocking, I know…and yes, they do use their wings to help form the walls of the nest. Who knew?).

Probably not the easiest task, but the robin was made for it.

And I am thanking God as I type this that I was not made for such things. I enjoy a little sparkle as much as the next girl, but I don’t think I want pieces of ribbon or fishing line sticking out of my house.

Call me crazy…and you would be right.

1 comment:

  1. Well, who knew! At the cabin we stay at for a week in NC we once had a bird fly in, every stinking person in our cabin all freaked out, yelling and running around, i grabbed a dish towel, cornered it and threw on the towel, picked him{certainly a him since a her would not get lost in that cabin} took him back outside, good as new.
    We've never had anything nest where we can see it. Lucky you!