Saturday, July 6, 2013

Under Siege

Porch Real Estate Not for Rent!
Homeland Security...Cat and Hose
Plenty of Rooms for Rent
Glaring Tree Swallow
Ah, Basking in the Sun
Ah, Sitting Under the Apple Tree
Resident Blue Heron
Just Flying By
Robin with a Snack on the Go
Let's Help Him Eat Organic
Osprey Visit
Chatter From a Tree
Chatter in Flight
Swallow House Above Blackberries
Possible Pine Siskin
Feeding Babies
Report from the War Zone:

Birds bombard my house.

Crazy-catbird attacks the west porch window with such ferocity that he drops poop bombs all over my camp chair--the one Todd hauled back to the porch so "birds wouldn't poop on it" under the apple tree. How ironic. It worked, pulling the blinds on Todd's gun room, but now catbird assails different windows. As Todd says from the safety of Moses Lake, WA 195 miles away, "It was cute, at first."

The second wave of attacks come from the tree swallows. They want my south porch for mud-nesting. Are you kidding me? Hey, tree swallows, we have co-existed peaceably since late March. You have 10, count them--10, bird houses plus no less than four outbuildings with all sorts of rafters. Not to are TREE swallows and we live in a forest of TREES.

My weapon of choice? The hose. With the sprayer set to "jet" I blast the mud foundation of five tree swallow nests. My justification is that they have plenty of other real estate and I'm not actually harming baby birds. But the parents are furious and dive at my head with pursed beaks as if I were a red-tailed hawk. Next, I rinse catbird poop off my chair, and catbird sulks in the pine tree. If birds sulk. I'm sulking. A bird nerd attacked Alfred Hitchcock-style is unnerving. I'm unmanned by birds. Like a cowboy trampled by his own beef herd.

My uninvited second weapon? Bootsy. One reason I'm not fond of barn cats is that they hunt birds. But kitty, kitty, kitty. Bootsy shows up mid-spraying and she and the hose settle in like Homeland Security on (and under) my south porch. Catbird has returned to his tree by the gun room, in retreat. The swallows circle ominously overhead, and one glares from a birdhouse. Bird Nerd Central is under siege.

July 5 Pond Report:

It is blissfully peaceful beneath the apple tree. With a mug of coffee swilling with whipped cream (because no one else is here to finish it off) and a handful of fresh-picked cherries, I settle in under the tree leaving the dogs to guard the war zone. The ring-necked duck hens are sun-bathing on the log. It is almost chilly today and I did not have to cool off with the hose after turning it from the birds to my garden.

Blue Heron flies low over the pond, the log, the ducks. The log is double-booked, it seems. at first Blue Heron lifts up as if to fly elsewhere, then cuts back and descends right on top of the hens, sending both splashing into the water. King of the log, he proceeds to preen, contorting his neck and employing his beak. His feathers are sooty-gray in the sunshine, like the clouds building behind the mountains.  Another great blue heron flies overhead, just passing by.

A robin lands on a fence post with some great green bug in his mouth. Birds, for all their annoyance today, are great at cleaning up insects. It makes me wonder about pesticides. A friend and fellow writer has developed a keen interest in investigating bee deaths this year. Pesticides are the supposed link. I watch these birds day after day eat bugs that pesticides are meant to kill. Responsible means can be used. For instance, wasp traps collect and drown wasps instead of spraying them dead where a bird can pick it up and ingest the poison, too. We are not in some Monsanto corn zone up here in northern Idaho, and most people keep natural yards and organic gardens.

Weeds don't bother me; unnatural swaths of green grass and GMO-corn does. Nature is under siege.

Osprey Update:

The mere sound of osprey chirrups excites me. I can hear them before I see them. There are two today, sweet-talking one another. One sits in the old snag as the other flies high, circling, chirping. It sounds like loving conversation, but who knows. Maybe one is nagging the other about dirty socks in the nest. And that's no joke. The Hellgate osprey have brought odd objects into the stick nest Iris and Stanley call home in Missoula, MT. This year its a tube of Synsodene toothpaste; last year it was a blue velvet Crown Royal bag. Rumor has it, they even collected a dirty magazine, just in time for the school children's field trip.

Talk about corrupting nature...a chemical beauty enhancement, alcohol and porn. All in one osprey nest. Cherry pits and stems are all the trace I leave out here with the Idaho osprey.

Like an eager child waiting for the Disney movie to start,  I sit at the edge of my chair and watch the osprey show. Neither hunts. It's a casual visit and one flies off, north and the other follows. Chirps fade into the distant clouds. I dream of having an osprey nest platform on Elmira Pond, of building a bed and breakfast over the garage with rooms facing the pond, of a pond cam that captures this incredible daily interaction, of leading nature writing classes on pond. Yes, I dream.

Tree Swallows:

Until todays battle for the south porch, the tree swallows have been great neighbors. They fill all the birdhouses, including the two over the blackberry brambles. Those occupants seem to have babies as I watch parents come in go in succession, each bringing an offering of fast-food insects. I see some tiny little pine dweller as I sit next to my garden and watch with my back to Elmira Pond. I think it might be a pine siskin. It's so quick, darting in and out of the pine trees, I can't be certain.

For now, all is peaceful.

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