Wednesday 23 May 2012

Birds Can Be So Fickle

Last week I built and put up a couple of bird houses, one in front of the house and one in the back yard. They were really just for show and to get them off of the work bench. The one out front has a birch bark roof and the one in the back has miniature cedar shakes. Both bird houses have walls made up of slices of tree branches. I got them off the work bench and don’t expect them to last the summer. No, I don’t take pride in my work.

To my surprise, I noticed a few birds hanging around the house in the back yard yesterday. It kind of looked a little like a bidding war was going on, with a Magpie (realtor?) officiating. The hole was way too small for the Magpie, so I have to assume that his only interest was in the commission.

Bird houses need to be designed specifically for the type of bird you hope to attract. The size of the hole is important (I hear that!), how much floor space is significant, there must be the proper amount of ventilation and the roof must mot be made of metal or the baby birds will cook in the hot sun. Some of us learned that one the hard way. Not as hard on me as it was on the baby chicks though. Building houses for birds is kind of like catering to Goldilocks. They can’t be too small, they can’t be too large, they have to be just right. It also helps if the house looks like the kind of place the birds would nest in the wild. Not too picky are they.

Today I noticed that there was a winner in the bidding war on the house. They seem like a nice young couple, and if I am not mistaken, there looks to be a little bit of a baby birdie bump just visible. The birds are quite industrious, flying bits of dead grass, twigs and string into the house. I guess today was moving day. I took a few pictures and watched them with my binoculars so that I didn’t disturb them while they were building the nest. I was just thinking that the elderly Korean lady that lives across the alley might have been a little weirded out thinking I was spying on her. No cops came to the door, so all is good.

While I was watching them I wanted to help if I could. I will freely admit that I have little or no experience building a bird’s nest, but I am eager and willing to learn. I thought that those sticks must be a little rough to sit on, so I needed to find something more comfortable. Bits of thread and cloth would be perfect, and I wish I had thought of it at the time. What I did think of was the lint from the dryer. There isn’t much that is softer than dryer lint, and it smells nice too.

Not surprisingly I suppose, I have a collection of lint and I ran downstairs to get a handful. I went outside with the thought of placing it around the birdhouse so that the birds could “find” it and then incorporate it into the house. They need never know just who their mysterious benefactor is or was. It was very, very, very windy when I went out and if I placed the lint around the house, it would have blown away. I wedged a bit in a tiny crack, but I still had the better part of a handful I needed to get rid of. I guess I could save the birds the effort of taking the lint into the house, so I just stuffed it in for them.

I have been keeping an eye on the bird house from the bedroom window since then, and I haven’t seen either bird. That could be just a coincidence I suppose. It might be that by hanging around the house I scared the birds away for good. It might be that the smell of a human frightened the birds away for good. It might be that I buried the mama bird alive in toxic dryer lint and she died a horrible, painful death, and now the widower is busy trying to find another willing female to mate with.

Birds can be so fickle.

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