BIRD WATCH: In the blink of an eye, spring bursts forth

LEAVE YOUR HOME in late spring — and beware.

Spring is going to bust out all over the place whether you are in residence or not.

This is doubly true here in the Pacific Northwest.

Sometimes it seems like you blink for a moment and everything grows a foot.

Trees pop into full bloom.

Leafing out foliage explodes.

You arrive home to a yard and garden you almost don’t recognize.

I was only gone for five days, but it is evident some “things” were just waiting for me to leave so they could really make spring progress.

I’m talking about more than the plants.

The birds were very busy while I was gone.

It’s apparent that the robins and the flickers took over the front of my house.

I was confident I was winning the battle with the flicker that keeps hammering on the porch pillar.

Never become complacent when it involves a woodpecker.

He’s been hammering away on the pillar off and on for weeks.

I’ve been chasing him away.

He probably watched the car go down the driveway and headed straight for the porch.

It’s the worst it’s ever been.

Now, the pillar has a one-inch hole in it.

Of course it’s so high that it can only be reached and repaired by standing on a ladder, which I am not going to do.

While in the midst of attacking some weeds that were trying to take over the front yard, a robin landed in the ground-level bird bath that needs some deep cleaning.

Winter rains created a muddy mess choked with all sorts of debris.

Seeing the robin land in this glorified “ditch” was startling.

She proceeded to poke about in the mud, gathering up a huge amount of building material.

Right while I stood and watched, she flew toward the front door.

That’s when things got very interesting.

This bird made trip after trip to the door.

Her final destination was the decorative wreath that hangs on it.

The muddy bird bath wasn’t the only spot where she was gathering nesting material.

After our wet winter there is an ample supply of moss in many places.

While her mate watched and kept guard, she made several trips to her building project with generous amounts of this moss.

Unsettling as it was to watch what was happening to the front door, her progress was fascinating.

In what seemed like a small amount of time, this mother-to-be created a most impressive nursery.

Now, the wreath once decorated with imitation daffodils and lilacs, supports a lovely nest trimmed off with beautiful green moss.

It is a very attractive creation.

Later in the day, as the sun warmed the front porch area, she placed herself in the picture.

While I enjoyed the seriously altered wreath hanging on my front door, I knew what might lie ahead.

People do come to this door.

You can only imagine how they, and the robin, might react when they find themselves eyeball-to-eyeball.

Instead of “wet paint,” some “bird nesting on door” signs are needed.

Phone calls to neighbors have already alerted those who might drop in.

I don’t know if this nesting will succeed.

Robins are well-known for nesting in some unlikely places near people, but she has now taken over the front porch.

Rain won’t bother her or the nestlings.

It will be warm but her part of the door is shaded.

Whether or not the crows or jays will become a problem is a real concern.

It all comes down to letting nature take its course as best it can.

They say everything comes in threes.

Two down; one to go.

It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

What other spring surprise do the birds have yet to reveal?

Think twice before leaving home at this time of the year — even for a few days.


Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: [email protected]

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