Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waving the White Flag

Well I'm sure that you're tired of hearing about the miscellaneous wildlife around my house.

And if that's the case for you, please feel free to pull the rip cord right now.

I won’t be offended because frankly I won’t even know.

But if you're just now tuning in...welcome.

You can catch up on the saga here, here, here, and here. (And yes, I went with the serial comma in that sentence…thank you for noticing.)

Anyway, if you’re still with me (or even if you’re not), I have an update on the front door skirmish.

Ok not exactly a skirmish any longer as I have waved the white flag.

Much to my chagrin.

And then again…not really too much to my chagrin.

But alas I have waved it.  And I’m here to let you in on that fact.

My dad even had some sort of deterrent spray for me to try…but I kept forgetting to stop by their house to pick it up. Clearly I was sabotaging my own claims of not wanting a bird's nest on my front door.

Don't judge.

I must confess that once we moved the robins from the back porch and it was clear that no one was going to take up residence in my front garden Redbud, I knew my only chance to watch the miracle of birth live and up close was going to be via my front door.

However, this decision did come with a bit of a surprise.

The birds who “wintered” there, and the ones who’ve nested in the past little sparrows, as I recall. But this nest appeared much larger than those of the past, so I suspected that a larger bird had made its home on our front door.

One morning when I was checking on the nest, a mama cardinal flew out, and came right towards me. I only screamed like a little girl for a half second.

“Oh, well that explains the size of the nest!”

So then this morning, my 10 yo came to me, all shades of frantic: “Mom! I can hear the babies!”

“No you can't; there aren't any eggs.” I didn’t know that there weren’t any eggs, but I was pretty sure that even if there were, they didn’t incubate in less than a week.

“Well I hear them!”

“No you don't ...it's probably just the mama.”

“No! Come here!”

So I followed him to the front door and what I heard can only be described as squawking.

And flailing.

And wings whacking the door.

I had my suspicions about what I thought MIGHT be going on but realized quickly that the mama would be pregnant before building her nest, right? The nesting comes AFTER the pregnancy, right?

But of course I had to check things out for myself because frankly it sounded like the bird was being mauled.

In lieu of opening the door and risking either a) bird flying in the house or b) me being attacked, I went out through the garage door and came around to the front...in time to see the mama and daddy cardinals fly away.

So then I was truly confused about what I interrupted…but I tried not to dwell on it, because that would have been weird.

And since we were actually running late this morning when I disturbed them, I decided to check when we got home.

As my good friend at In the Coop...who is apparently also an Amazon...so astutely pointed out, I'm not exactly tall enough to see inside these nests without some assistance. 

But unlike the back porch nest, I don't bother schlepping out a stepstool, or making do with something that’s convenient...I simply use my phone to take a picture of what's going on inside the nest. I am tall enough to do that ...ok, if I stand on my tippy toes, then I am tall enough.

Don't judge. I know you’re all jealous. You all wish you were little like me.

This particular shot only took me one try. Practice makes perfect.

So going back to my earlier comment…clearly I had only interrupted labor and delivery. Which if it's anything like a human delivery, it's kind of painful. And when I say this, I please know that I did not miss biology class that day and I do understand that humans give birth to "live young " and do not hatch babies from eggs ...but that might be easier right? You wouldn't have to make sure the baby was head down and no wayward limbs getting caught on the exit ...maybe I should talk to God about that ...I’m full of great ideas for Him and I KNOW He L.O.V.E.S. it when I tell Him my ideas.

Anyway…I’m assuming that's what the ruckus was about. And the other bird was there playing the role of the doula.

Stranger things have happened ...I'm not sure what they would be, but they probably have.

Like maybe one time I told a story succinctly, without a bunch of random tangents or bunny trail attachments...
Ok maybe that never happened either.

NOTE: Just so you know, cardinals can have three or four clutches of eggs in a season. I just about had a heart attack when I read that, as I did not want to deal with these birds all summer; one clutch is fine, but three or four would begin to be a little tedious. Imagine my delight to discover that when one clutch is being cared for by the daddy, the mama is incubating the next clutch in a new nest; rarely do cardinals reuse a nest. Just thought you’d like to know.


  1. You've been outstubborned by a bird. Never thought I'd live to see the day.
    I'm glad it's a cardinal. Those things are so pretty. We will have to come over to see them as they grow.
    We can trade bird viewing. At our preschool, we have been checking on a goose every day to see if her 9 eggs have hatched. It's a perfect set-up. She is in a corner, right between the line of bushes and the giant wall of windows into the church narthex. No fear of getting attacked by a daddy goose.

  2. We have cardinals 2 families in our trees, the males are so vain {they think this song is about them...} that they attack our van windows and mirrors. During mating season we have to actually clean the van mirrors because they get so dirty with bird spit and fliuds during their attacks of their reflections.
    Post baby pictures please