Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Birds of a Feather

So, I am certain that you are all most-assuredly wondering “Where are Mrs. AR’s posts detailing her entanglements with the local avian persuasion this spring?”

Well, until last week, I was doing ok, thank you very much.

In fact, better than ok. I had experienced nary a run-in with the birds at all.

You may recall my “series” from last year, detailing the mama bird on the back porch who was tenacious in building her nest in the cherry spot on our back porch.

If you want to refresh your memory (though I would be completely SHOCKED if you can’t recall such riveting tales!) please click on “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds” at the bottom of this post and it should take you to all of them. (If it doesn’t please let me know…technology is great but only when it works.)

But if you don’t want to read them (which is totally understandable) I will at least tell you this: since we moved in our house 9 years ago, we have had a bird build a nest on our back porch every.single.spring.

Last year, the poor mama was so eager to lay her eggs that she neglected to make sure the nest was under her.

It was not. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), the babies did not survive past yolkdom.

That is to say, we have had birds attempt to build on the back porch every year…until this year

Apparently word got out that the place was increasingly hostile and any nest (finished or in process) would be removed immediately upon discovery (or after a picture was taken...depending on who made the discovery); no one even attempted a nest this year.

Pay no attention to the grossiness from years past..bird poo is not always as easy to remove as one might think
And we didn’t have any run-ins with a nest on the front porch either…only because I didn’t put my usual bucket of flowers on display…thus removing another cherry spot from the nest-locale line-up.

But that didn’t mean we didn’t have nests this spring. We actually have a few, but as yet there do not appear to be any babies...

And with that, we shall embark on the "Tour of Nests" you've all been eagerly anticipating...or dreading. There's kind of a fine line.

Frankly I’m not sure what kind of nest this is but I am thinking either robin or cardinal. I haven’t seen anything in it but I am fairly certain it is not leftover from last year.

And I am too short to see inside, so I don't actually know if there are babies or eggs or anything inside.

Don’t judge.


This one was actually leftover from last year. It belonged to a robin last year. But this year I have seen both a Mourning Dove and a Robin (and yes, I am no avian specialist but I can distinguish between the two, thank you very much). But so far no babies…not exactly sure what’s going on there. No judging but it is too high for me to see inside.


This one is more my height…and empty. But VERY pretty. As in “I might want to keep it because it’s so pretty” pretty. Perhaps it was also a better height for a neighborhood cat or raccoon? Which is probably/possibly why it is empty. (Look at my deductive reasoning skills hard at work.)


And this one I believe is a dove’s b/c it is a little messy. I don’t respect the dove so much (yeah, you read that right…I do not respect the mourning dove; I find their work ethic to be somewhat lacking), although at least this one tried to build in an actual bush, instead of the sorry attempts at nests which we have found over the past few years; putting about 5 sticks on our window ledges and laying the eggs on them all willy-nilly. It would be “ok” except the ledges are sloped to prevent water from standing on them. Ergo…the eggs roll off and the birds appear mystified.

Ok, I have yet to see a mystified mourning dove, but it is kind of funny to consider, right?

Just say “yes” and we can move on.

This brings me to the nest experience of last week.

But I must back up a bit. A few days prior to our latest visit, my mother told me (and the boys, though I am certain it was more directed toward me…I am her favorite, I’m fairly certain) that there was a dove’s nest in the blue spruce next to their garage and that we (I) should check it out the next time we are(I am) over.

So I went by last week to pick up my kids (I also went by to drop them off but I forgot about the nest during drop-off so I was alone when I remembered…I say this because you are certainly pondering the whereabouts of the PBA during this event. Are you with me?)

Now this was (and frankly still is) a fairly dense tree (no, I am not calling it “stupid” but thanks for asking), but there was a hole, right at my eye level. As I looked at the tree, I thought to myself, “Well I don’t know where the nest is, but I’ll peek in there and look.”

No sooner had I “peeked” in than I had an angry mama dove flying right at me…making whatever noise it is a dove makes when it is scared, angry or both.

Of course I screamed. And jumped back about 5 feet.

Maybe not 5 feet…probably more like 2. I have this whole “depth perception issue,” due to my lazy eye so who really knows. And as I said, the PBA weren't with me so we have no one who can give any sort of accurate estimation of how far I jumped.

I'm sorry that I can't be 100% accurate in my reporting, as I oh-so-often am.

And once my heart stopped trying to find its way out of my chest, I approached the hole again.

I knew the mama had flown "away", but she was still close by…making her noises.

Of course, I (again with my vast deductive-reasoning skills...they are getting a workout in this post) figured out why she was upon me immediately (I don’t care what you say…I’m a quick-study…).

The nest was right inside the hole.

Can you see it? There's just one baby in there...not a tiny baby either. I'm certain you can see how I missed it initially...
And thusly I ended my tenuous truce with the winged creatures of our area.  

But since you stuck it out and read this whole thing…or at the very least skipped to the end, I should give you a little something funny…you know, since this wasn’t very funny at all.

Also, because I don’t have a good way to end this.

So enjoy this Pixar Short Film instead…and please forgive that it’s not Youtube…I could not find the original on Youtube so you’ll have to settle for vimeo instead…


  1. Those nasty barn swallows try to build a nest on our porch every year! I hate them (yes, I am bigoted when it comes to birds...I only like the pretty looking and pretty sounding NICE birds. I say "blah" to barn swallows, sparrows & pigeons. Nasty pigeons) Anyhooo... their mud-stucco nests leave nasty stains on your house if you allow them to build. Our answer? We have Teenage Mutant Ninja statuettes on guard. They stand in the corners where the swallows try to swoop in and build their nasty, dirty nests. One year, they tried to build on the side (as opposed to the corner) and... I felt bad, but I knocked it down. The poor newly weds were in a frenzy. The new bride perched on the porch railing squawking & wailing all while the groom swooped in and out and around and back --- wondering just "what to do next?!!" It was so sad. But, I didn't feel bad for very long. I am certain they found a new place to build and went on to procreate more nasty baby barn swallows to continue to bug me every spring.

  2. Oh, my, baby birdies not making it past yolkdom is both sad and gross.

    Have you read the book "Flap Your Wings" by P.D. Eastman? Just read it to my class today, and it makes me think of you.