May 19, 2021

us vs nature, a losing battle?

We aren't trying to be a-holes towards our outdoor friends, but they've left us little choice when they fail to respect our personal space.

Several weeks ago one of the moms I sit for walked into the house to pick up her twins looking a little frazzled. She was kind of ducking and looking behind her as she entered from the garage.

Twin mom:  There's a bird in your garage.

The bird continued to hang out in our garage. Detective Tank figured out why. Ms. Bird had built a nest on top of the garage door opener for our single garage door.  Apparently Ms. Bird hadn't heard the real estate catch phrase:  LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

We weren't really interested in having a bird get all territorial about her nest in our garage. Our garage is a side-load deal. We're on the corner, so the driveway sticks out of the side of the house. We rarely use the front door. I had visions of Ms. Bird dive-bombing folks as they came to collect their wee ones from me. 

Admittedly, we may have given the wrong impression to our feathery friends. Our garage door is left up A TON. I leave it up for a few hours at baby-drop-off time, then I leave it up at baby-pick-up for a few hours and my kids aren't great at putting it down when they leave if someone else is home. Not all cars (looking at Lad here) are equipped with a garage door opener.

Coach thought that spraying the nest was the appropriate next step. I think this was what Google instructed him to do. Anyone else feel like it's difficult to make a move sometimes without Google's go-ahead? He used Windex. Remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the dad used Windex on everything? Well, maybe that concept is catching on. 

Ms. Bird was undeterred by the Windex. Perhaps she was like, THANKS, THE NEST IS SO MUCH CLEANER NOW. Note:  there were no eggs in the nest yet. She was just in that prepping stage that humans refer to as nesting. Coincidentally. 

Coach's next move surprised us all. I think it surprised him too. He put a tennis ball in the nest. Not sure of the mindset here. Maybe he thought Ms. Bird would think a squatter had borrowed her nest and laid a neon colored ball-shaped egg in it. At any rate, it worked. She has not been back. (typing PUT A TENNIS BALL IN THE NEST made me start to hum that song and I use the term 'song' loosely here:  Boogie in the Butt, by Eddie Murphy . . . specifically the 'put a tree in your butt' line. No explanation, my mind is wacky). 

I'm being lazy - I could make a tall son
take a better picture, but this is all I've got.
 Hard to see, but there is a tennis
ball in the now abandoned nest.

Before our garage almost became a labor and delivery room, we discovered a critter one day. He was a chipmunk, and he was maimed. At first we thought maybe he was just dazed and confused. We gave him some time in case he 'd just wacked his head on something and needed a minute. It happens. I've seen birds hit the window hard and after a few minutes of looking like a goner, they've hopped up and flown away. He really couldn't get his bearings though. 

A few weeks prior, Coach saw a mouse, better him than me, in the garage (totally common, unfortunately) and set traps. I wonder if this maimed guy had a run-in with a trap. No idea, but one leg or maybe his one side wasn't functioning properly. His walk-it-off approach was leaving him walking in circles and between circles he was very still in a heap, labored breathing.  

Once we'd lost hope that he'd recover, Tank scooped him up onto a shovel and took him out to greener pastures  . . . also known as our yard, where he put him out of his misery. The video below is just Tank scooping him on a shovel.

This task Tank handled without a second thought. He seemed more upset about Coach's home-wrecking role in the whole ball-in-a-nest ordeal. He said at one point, "Wow, I thought we were Catholic."

All I can say is that I hope those mice were watching the Chipmunk's last moments, so they know we mean business. 

Anyone else have a bird nest appear somewhere weird? Please note:  I have yet to drag out my blow up pool, but you know once I do all kinds of woodland friends will show up with their sunglasses and tiny folding beach chairs. Here's the link to the post I'm referring to.


me said...

We had a bird nest in our garage for 5 years or so. Our garage door wouldn't close after a tree fell on the garage (it's slightly trapezoidal now and not rectangular, but it still stable). A pair of doves moved in and over the years they created a very large nest structure. Some summers they had multiple clutches of eggs. Finally we remembered to take it down one winter, and then the next year we thought we were safe! However, the doves just moved up into our soffit area of our house. So we need to remember to fix the soffit in the fall so we can finally be bird-free.
However, my old cat carried in a dead dove a few weeks ago, so maybe she will scare the rest of them off!
We also have bats in the attic and an occassional squirrel - still don't know how those little things get in and out. I'd love to hire someone to clear things out up there, block up the ingresses and egresses, and maybe use it for storage, but my husband is thrifty.

Ernie said...

Me - You have so many 'visitors' - yikes. When we put on our addition, I begged the contractor to make sure there were no holes large enough for mice to enter. We ended up being lucky that the guy included a roof on the addition. We haven't had a mouse INSIDE the house for years. Thank goodness. Oh this little chipmunk was so sad looking. I almost wonder if he climbed something and took a steep fall. It was so strange. I hope your cat stays on top of the doves for you. Storing things in the attic is overrated. Coach used to store kid ride on toys in the attic over the garage but he would forget so we would go a few years with some of the toys in the attic as the kids gradually outgrew them. Other years we just shoved their toys to the side of the garage for the winter. Not a consistent system.

Suz said...

I couldn't watch either video as I hate to see critters who are injured. (I cried last week when Lillie and Max caught and killed a baby bunny) Could you have moved the nest out to a tree? I never would have thought to use windex even though I love that movie too.
It's not fun getting attacked by birds, so I understand NOT wanting it in the garage. But still, that Mom worked her azz off making her home. :)

I have a dear friend who continually gets doves making nests on her patio where they spend a lot of time. They tried to deter them, but it never worked. The nest was always a bit haphazard and eggs always fell out, so she finally got a basket, put the nest in it, and hung it up. The doves were so happy; it was like HGTV for birds!

Ernie said...

Suz - I did consider moving it, but I also thought birds wouldn't go near something that had our scent. Maybe gloves would help? I also figured she wouldn't be able to read a miniature map drawn for her by our relocation services team. I can't believe we never saw her build it. It just seemed to appear overnight- although like I said the garage is open a lot and unattended. She must've been a fast worker.

I love that here's-a-basket-for-your-home's-foundation story. HGTV for birds. I guess we need to rethink how we can be more helpful to them. The poor little chipmunk was beyond help though.

Kara said...

We had a bird nest in our dryer vent. The flap got stuck open and the birds decided it was a perfect place to nest. We realized they were in there when the laundry room started peeping. We let them mature enough to leave the nest, and then had someone come out and clean the vent and fix the flapper.

We have to keep the back patio fans running all the time during the spring, or else the doves will decided to build nests on top of them. I leave their nests alone in the trees, they can leave my fans alone.

Ernie said...

Kara - What happened to good old fashioned trees? How funny though to have a peeping laundry room. A bird usually makes a nest in a big bush next to the garage. I haven't noticed a nest this year and I wonder if our garage nest is from a bird wanting a change of scenery from the big bush. Perhaps Reggie's constant basketball playing freaked her out.

Nicole MacPherson said...

PUT SOME WINDEX ON IT! Lol, I totally forgot about that. My husband put a fake hawk in our garden, and it worked to keep the squirrels from digging and the birds from scavenging! I couldn't believe it worked. I think it's funny the tennis ball thing worked.

Beth Cotell said...

A tennis ball in the nest! What a brilliant idea!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Yes, that quirky part of the movie popped right into my mind when he said he tried Windex. I thought your husband strapping the rock to the tree to protect it from the hummingbird was very creative. I'd rather not have robins nesting in my garage. I consider the garage more of Coach's domain (thus my need to clean it every once in a while). So, I let him solve this one and his solution was entertaining, and apparently effective.

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, as if "oops, this space has been taken."

Mellie said...

Birds pick crazy places to nest sometimes! We had a mockingbird set up shop right outside our back door while we were on vacation. I guess we bothered them too much because they abandoned the nest, and by the time I realized it only one was still alive. I ended up hand feeding it and it was such a sweet experience that I hope to never do again. lol

Ernie said...

Mellie - My folks had a duck make a nest in her courtyard. They were smart. My parents left water out for them and watched over them like hawks . . . well, hawks might be the wrong example, as they'd probably eat the baby ducks. My mom hung signs so that the mailman wouldn't enter the courtyard. She was devastated when they up and left one morning before light. She would've gladly followed them to a nearby body of water to assure them a safe arrival.

Bibliomama said...

"I thought we were Catholic" omg ha ha. "The nest is so much cleaner now!" This is awesome. My parents had a squirrel building a nest in the awning over their back deck, partially built of stuff it had chewed from their awning, so my husband had to go take it down. I try not to interfere with wildlife if possible, but that only goes so far. A friend has mourning doves build a nest on her front step, which is dumb because it's very vulnerable to predators. When instinct fails, I guess. Can't wait to see what tennis ball bird babies eat.

Ernie said...

Ali - This is what happens when a man tries to deal with something quickly. He works a lot and usually I only count on him to handle the lawn. The 'let's not have a bird get all territorial when people drop their babies off at our home' comment spurred him to try something, apparently. Yes, Tank comes up with some bazaar remarks at times, and misuses words regularly. We often attribute it to his 80% speech delay that left him grunting till he was over 3 yrs old. I burst out laughing and shook my head at his Catholic mention. Keep you posted on the diet of the neon, perfectly round babies'. ;)