We’ve passed through the 10 days that count as spring in New England–those 10 mild and balmy days between weather that still periodically dips into the lower 30s and weather that is suddenly close to 100 degrees. Though it’s hot and we’re all scrambling to get the window units into the few rooms that positively demand air conditioning, it’s also dramatically, lushly beautiful, verdant and alive with trees in full leaf and vines and magnificent flowers–azaleas and iris and that pinky-orange-flowering umbrella-like tree with the peeling bark that we don’t know what it is but we love.
And there are birds. Many, many birds. We are fortunate enough to have a couple of acres of yard that include a stream, a pond, vegetation of all heights and densities, making it a little paradise for the birds. We have water birds–ducks and Canada geese (who somehow DO seem to have gotten the memo requiring them to stay in our neighbor’s yard where we can see them and appreciate their handsome plumage and their impossibly cute and fuzzy goslings, but where we don’t have to deal with their soil enrichments), herons and red-winged blackbirds, hawks and osprey, barn swallows, and all manner of song-birds.
Here’s where it gets interesting, because it isn’t just the human residents here who appreciate the presence of the birds. Nemo, for instance, whom you haven’t met yet, spends hours sitting in the windowsill over our bed, keeping careful track of the comings and goings of a pair of purple finches who inhabit a tangle of leafy vines that crawl up the chimney on that side of the house. She chirps softly at them in a gentle way that means, “If it weren’t for this damned screen between us, you two would be toast.”
When we disturb her voyeuristic activities gentle birdwatching, she rewards us with a fond look that clearly says, “Do you not have anything better to do than bother me?”
We do, of course. Right now we are very busy protecting these:
Protecting them from Dinah and Crispin, who have discovered this wren’s nest just at their eye-level, tucked into the frame of the office window that looks out onto the porch. We were tickled when the wrens began to build their nest their, anticipating the joy of being able to see up-close the building of the charming nest, the tiny nestled eggs, and the hungry young babies as they hatched.
Okay, first we gave them an “F” in nest-building–I’m telling you, they just flung sticks at the windowsill and however they happened to fall was okay with them. Then, at about the same time that we discovered (through quick peeks every few days when the parent wrens were away) these 5 amazing little eggs (about dime-sized), the dogs also discovered them, and it fell to us to keep them from eating the eggs. Fortunately, the pack leader cleverly hit upon an arrangement of boards (left over from a building project)–that, propped at just the right angle, blocks both the dogs’ view of the nest and their access to it, but leaves plenty of room for mama wren (who figured it out quickly) to fly in and out.
Of course, the neighbors may call the planning and zoning commission–our remodeling isn’t exactly something you might see in House Beautiful–but we think it’s a small price to pay for the safety of our new tenants.