My birds have gotten out of hand! I seem to be on the edge of ecological disaster in my backyard –– too many nests and species all crowding together.

When my children left home, never to return –– as children ought to do –– I did feel like an empty-nester. But only for a short time.

After the kids moved out, it was time to upgrade our home. Yes, I know we should have downgraded –– that would have been more sensible. But after looking for years, we finally found the perfect house. Just because it had a thousand extra square feet was no reason not to buy it.

I set up my bird feeders in the back yard and soon had goldfinches and sparrows. Then came the doves. They may be a symbol of peace in literature but not in reality. They push each other off the feeders, run after other doves, pecking them viciously. They remind me of (insert whatever politician’s name you want!).

I put up a birdhouse for wrens, and the next day I had a wren move in. Watching it build its nest was not a great example of the wonders of evolution. I watched the little bird take very long sticks and try to get them into a tiny hole. Needless to say, it wasn’t working.

I tried to help. I cut a bunch of sticks in half and put them under the birdhouse. The bird ignored them and continued to get one out of ten oversized sticks in the house. The little bird did teach me the power of persistence, but with just a 10% success rate in the nest-building department, I couldn’t help wondering how they had survived for millions of years.

We had baby wrens last year, so when I saw a Western bluebird checking out the wren house a few weeks ago, and trying to stuff her large body in the tiny hole, I yelled out to Don, who was peacefully sitting in front of his computer.

“We have to get to the bird store NOW and get a bluebird house!”

Don was not as excited as I was but went for the promised lunch afterwards.

The bluebird took one look at the new house, inside and out, decided it didn’t like it, and never returned. But the wrens liked it a lot. I guess a bit like us –– a bigger house is just more appealing.

Besides the wrens, I also have a hummingbird feeder, and yes, I feed crows. I give them peanuts every morning, and they know when to come and who to bother. They are very loud, and they get up early! I keep thinking they are very intelligent, like the ones on National Geographic. I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet, but it’s only been three years.

I read that a little girl had been feeding crows, and they brought her all sorts of little presents, shiny objects. I’m still waiting for that, too!

Every morning, I have a lot to do. Feed the dog wet and dry food, feed the cats something they will actually eat, fill up the bird feeders, put peanuts out for the crows, make sure the hummingbirds have their sugar water, and then and only then can I make breakfast for myself.

Empty nest? No way!



Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash