Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship With A Bird

We have many birds that visit us.  Cardinals, finches, blue jays, bluebirds, robins, red winged blackbirds, & quite a few birds we don't recognize.  We also have swarms of unknown dark gray birds that fly in here like locusts swarming Egypt prior to the exodus.  They swarm down on one section of the yard, apparently find bugs to eat, & then a few minutes later swarm to another place in the yard where they find more bugs.  Swarm & repeat.  They are welcome visitors even if you sometimes can swear you're living in the middle of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  You know the one.  We also have cowbirds from time to time.  They must be the devil's pets because they are brood parasitic.  This means they watch when other birds lay eggs in their nests.  Then the cowbirds fly in when the parents leave for a time & they lay their eggs in with the others.  When the eggs hatch the baby cowbirds grow faster & bigger than the other baby birds & they push them out of the nest.  Also, the cowbird parents often keep an eye on the nests after laying their eggs in them.  If they see that the owners of the nest push out the cowbird eggs, the cowbirds will then come in & destroy the owners' eggs!  I have never liked it when one group of people (or animals or birds) are mean to another group.  Therefore I don't like cowbirds.  The purpose of my writing this post, however, is to talk about a particular blackbird that has robbed me of my very favorite old grater.

See that blank bit of wall above the piggie salt & pepper shakers?  That's where my favorite old grater used to hang.  It was also my first old grater.  I don't have many graters ... I don't really need a lot ... but I'll miss that one.  

By now you are probably wondering how a blackbird robbed me of my favorite old grater.  Well, we happened to notice a couple days ago that this one blackbird was hopping in & out of our gutter at the corner of the porch precisely where the downspout attaches.  At one point we noticed that she was flying little bits of grass & other debris up there & I mentioned to John that she must be making a nest.  On the one hand I felt sorry for her.  Obviously she was brain wave deficient choosing to build her nest in a gutter close to a downspout like that.  Didn't she know that one good rain would wash away her nest & her eggs?  We were also concerned that the nest was going to block the gutter &/or downspout & then we'd have drainage problems.  We decided that we needed to put a stop to this.  Yesterday we got the ladder & John climbed up in order to remove the nest but there wasn't one.  It seems she was maybe trying to build one by filling up the downspout with debris until it all got high enough to actually support a nest.  Not a good thing.  John was able to pull a few lengths of dried pampas grass out of the downspout but couldn't really see or reach anything else.  I brought him out a pitcher of water & he poured it into the downspout & it drained without a problem.  We figured that our tampering in the area would discourage her from returning to her nest building attempts but it didn't.  We no sooner put the ladder away & came back inside than she was hopping in & out of the gutter again.  I suggested that the next time we go to Lowes we should get some screening to put over the downspout opening before she blocked it up.  This morning I was in the kitchen making tea & heard her singing.  Sure enough she was flying into that area, dropping off debris, & flying back out again only to return with more.  Since Lowes is a bit of a drive ... & John was too impatient for me to think of an alternative ... he duct taped my favorite old grater in the gutter over the downspout opening.  When we came back inside she flew immediately up to the area, looked around, & then flew away.  We haven't seen her since.  It seems the old grater is doing it's job but I miss seeing it hanging on that bit of wall.  Oh sure, I could find a replacement grater.  I could even use one of the ones you see there in the photo which were unfortunately too wide to put in the gutter.  However, it wouldn't be the same   : (   

For those of you who may be wondering, yesterday indeed was spent snuggling in my recliner, eating chocolate, & taking a nap.  Today it is sunny & warm & as soon as I click on Publish Post I am heading out to start work in the garage.  I will even take before pictures so you can see what I'm dealing with.  I hope you will find something a bit more fun to do today   : )   Although cleaning out the garage is not technically what anyone would deem to be "fun" ... it will make things look nicer out there, I'll get rid of some things I no longer need or want, & I'll have a great feeling of accomplishment when it's all done.  Sounds good to me   : )   


Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Good Morning Shirlee.
Sorry you had to use your favorite grater ~ maybe you can retrieve it now that she is gone.
Have fun cleaning out the garage ~ hope you accomplish much!!!
Enjoy your day!
Prim Blessings

TheCrankyCrow said...

But for the loss of your prized grater, it's a charming and amusing story Shirlee! I'd be sending John on a little errand today and reclaiming it. Nice day for a drive to Lowes', don't you think? Good luck with your cleaning. The rain you had yesterday is here in Nod today....And tomorrow we're supposed to be back to 40's for highs and 20's for lows. Ick. I'm going in to visit my mom, and then tackle that stack of dishes my husband messed. :o Smiles & Sunday Hugs ~ Robin

TheCrankyCrow said...

PS - Looks like you're on a roll here with the bird theme....Two Robins and nary a blackbird.... ;o)

Meadowbrook Cabin Primitives said...

Hi Shirlee,

So much for the grater..but a great idea !

I read your prior post and I remember those days of penny candy and five cent popcicles and candy bars and getting into the movies on a Saturday for only 25 cents , then it went up to 50 cents.

We evidently did not have the wafers you mentioned ..I do not remember them at all.

I do remember the candy cigarettes, though.. I admit, I liked them and saw a little girl in the mall the other day holding a pack of them and eating one.. We have a candy store in our mall that sells Gardners Candy. They make the Peanut Butter meltaway candy.

The mallo cups come from Altoona Pa , not too far from where I live and the Gardner's Candy comes from Tyrone, Pa.. not far either.. about an hour and a half away.

I loved the mallo cups.

My friend surprised me with some black jack gum the other day , but it sure doesn't hold its flavor like it used to.

Louisville, Ky is a wonderful city. I have never met so many friendly people as I have there . The sales clerks were all so nice and other people I met also.

Do they still have those two malls open just down the road from each other ? I like the one mall that had the canal of running water near the food court and the fountains you could actually make the water work and spray water with the touch of a button. I was there in the 90's.

Have a fun day !


Michelle said...

Sorry you lost your grater my friend and happy sorting out - I love sorting xx

Sonia said...

Sorry, your grater had to go into another service... but only for a bit until you get some screening. :)

I know sorting out all the stuff is a chore, but you will be so much relieved and happy when you get it done. :)

Have a great week!

God bless and keep you,

marly said...

Oh God. Mallo Cups. As soon as I read that comment, all else left my mind so I don't remember what I had originally planned to post.

Vickie said...

Well Shirlee I just spent my second afternoon in a row working in the garden. It is my most high maintenance garden bed. Load with grass that has crept in. Oh man! I hurt! And I am only 1/4 done with it. I am going to get me some chocolate right now! :)

Anonymous said...

The Google did not help me and a "cowbird" is a mistery to me. I can only think of a bird like that, called "melro", black with an orange beak. I learned about those in a cartoon we had on TV way back when I was about 6 or 7! the ones that take advantage on others are not nice, eiher birs, other animals or men!
Sorry about the grater!
You'll get it back! John will make sure of it! A bit dirty and a bit rusty but back!

Anonymous said...


Just found your blog.

I love the story of the cowbirds, no wonder you don't like them.

Godd idea of hubby's to use your grater but I can understand how you miss it. My favourite wooden spoon which I had for 15 years broke and I really do miss it!

Lei said...

I am so sorry to hear about your grater. It must be difficult not having it hanging in it's normal spot anymore. I hope that your day of cleaning in the garage was productive. I have not been in ours for a while because it has become a place of boxes and bugs. I suggested cleaning it out to my husband, but it is not on his list of priorities. Maybe one day I will have nagged him enough that it will move to the head of the list. One can hope.

Have a great weekend. Lei