Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Throwing Out the Welcome Mat

I love to have people visit us.  We are not, however, for the casual visitor.  We live so far in the boondocks that people don't just drop by.  It takes some planning.  Then we have what I call our "dog bell" which is to say that the dogs announce any vehicle entering our property with excited barking.  It is rare to have anyone get to our front door without us knowing about it.

Still, we try to offer a welcoming front door.  I have a sign to welcome folks:

I don't think you need to be able to read Spanish to know we're happy to have you here.

So....having said all of this to explain how much we love people appear at our front door I have to show you what it looks like today:


I guess all it's missing is a skull and crossbones.  Or maybe a Quarantine sign.  Possibly a smallpox outbreak?

Let me explain. 

For the past five years now we've had a bird make a nest on the overhang of our front porch.  The first couple of years we really didn't pay much attention.  We would walk to the front porch and a bird would fly around us, flapping her wings and acting all upset.  But we never connected the dots.  Then a couple of years ago we finally looked up and noticed the nest.  And realized that's why the cat had been hanging around the front porch so much.

I started photographing the nest and kept track of the new generation's progress from eggs to first flight. The opportunity to watch a baby bird's maiden flight from the nest is just one of those indescribable feelings, when your throat feels funny--kind of a cross between a sob and a huzzah. I've been privileged to watch this scene two times now and consider myself incredibly lucky.  Afterwards, I left the nest for a short while then took it down to make room for another one the following year.

She showed up right on time last week and started building the nest.  We started using the back door to give her some peace and quiet.  And also to avoid the whole "bird flapping her wings in a panic scaring me to death" thing. But once in a while we forget to go to the back door so the big "X" is to remind us.

I am starting to worry a bit about this year's bird.  I know it's an Eastern Phoebe.  I'm just not sure if it's the same bird as last year.  Last year's nest was an extremely tidy, classical teacup shape.



I just don't know about this year's nest.  It kind of looks like the mother bird is on drugs or something.


We'll see.  I'll keep you posted. 

For the story of last year's bird adventures check in the archives for May 4th of 2010.

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