Whenever I open the screen door to step outside these days, it’s a sure bet that a Robin will be sitting on the cyclone fence, a scowl on its face, and a steely stare that is aimed in my general direction.
This is because there is bad blood between these red-breasted birds and me, and, they will never forget that I’ve wreaked havoc on their happy home multiple times through the years. So, my dear Robins … guilt me if you must, but my stance doesn’t change.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that I wage an annual battle with the Robins once Spring arrives, as they try their best to build a nest in the elbow of the coach light in the front of the house. They’ll set up a nest over the course of the day, constructing it of twigs, mud and dried grass. The nest is very large and sturdy, and, although the construction is admirable, many of the nest fixin’s usually end up on the mailbox lid. There will be big drops of mud with embedded twigs and grass caked on the lid. Mud splatters are also down the wall, even on the porch, not to mention bird droppings! Rather than sweep down the nest every day, I’ve taken to plugging up the coach light elbow area with bags filled with newspapers and pinwheels poked into the bags. It looks pretty silly, but it works and keeps any further nest-building at bay. Then come mid-June, the contraption can be taken down.
It certainly is not because I don’t like birds … I just have no patience with these Robins and their mess every Spring. Last year, due to our mild weather, they started the nest-building efforts in March.
Of course, the Robins sense my dislike of their cozy home. Yup, it is no secret, and, I guess I am giving them the evil eye or bad vibes, thus, the perpetual scowl whenever I cross their paths.
But, as much as I disdain those red-breasted birds, their surly attitudes and bossiness of inviting themselves to move on in, my friend and next-door neighbor, Marge, embraces the idea of the anticipation of new life and little ones in a natural habitat mere inches from her own living quarters. She does not take an attitude, nor a broom, when any bird comes a’callin’ and builds its nest at her house.
So, this is probably why Mama Mourning Dove misappropriated Marge’s empty mesh wire planter, as a safe haven to lay her eggs, keep them warm and await the hatching of her brood. Marge was ecstatic, and, in researching Mourning Dove breeding habits, Marge discovered, that after the eggs were laid, both Mama and Papa Dove take turns incubating the eggs. Papa takes the day shift; Mama pulls the all-nighter. While their mate is keeping the eggs warm, the other is out foraging for food. Marge sent me this picture of the Mourning Dove feeling safe in the ornamental basket that is tucked on the top shelf of a wrought-iron gazebo. This might have been Papa pictured above since it was daylight. By Marge’s calculations, the hatching may take place on Good Friday. Precious new life … just perfect for Spring.
Meanwhile, we might still be waiting on April the Giraffe and her calf to be born.
Though the day started out ugly and gray, cold and windy, and, without a single redeeming reason to lure me out for a walk, at least it was not raining, or snowing, or “snaining” as the late, eccentric weatherman Sonny Eliot used to refer to that unique combo of rain and snow.
I stepped out anyway, thankful it was dry, and, by the time I returned, I swear that the sky was a beautiful Robin’s egg blue. One look at that pretty blue sky, then I immediately glanced up to the coach light. Whew, no untoward activity going on there – yet.
This weekend promises to be just spectacular, especially Palm Sunday which will be sunny and 70 degrees. Perfect for walking – I can’t wait.