Monday, May 20, 2013

DOG IN THE HOLE BIRD REPORT- yup that's it, just birds!

Things have picked up the pace around here at Dog In The Hole. The weather rotating between March and July has most of us forgetting that it is really May. And, May is the month that the birds start to take over our house. 
After 12 years, and two nest a year, allowing for deaths from old age and travel accidents, we have a plethora of Robins, born and raised here that are determined to raise their young here.
As I have talked about in the past, some haven't got a clue how to build a nest. One, in particular didn't really seem to even have her heart into it. Creative she was with the draping of long pieces of grasses but she seemed to have lost interest in the actual gathering of mud.
She came back. She has a partner that won't give up on her. He was determined to support her efforts, defend our choice of nesting site and call encouragingly to her when she got frustrated and flew against the window.
I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that she first decided to build in the Geranium plants on the upper deck. Much to Louie's amusement. His first thoughts being, "Yummmm, fast food".
I removed that nest, discouraging her to continue.
She moved to the elbow of the drain spout. Seemed like a logical place, protected above by the overhang of the roof. Unfortunately, nothing would stay put. All the long pieces of dried grass would slide right off. 
She would come back with more, see the first results gone and throw herself against the open windows. We listened to thump, thump, thump for two days.

She got to John's soft heart and he decided to move the purchased, made especially for Robins wood nesting box up to the same level at the drain spout elbow. He put it on the other side of the kitchen windows. We watched and waited.

She didn't disappoint. She found the nesting box and proceeded to start to drape the dried grasses on the top of the box. Her partner watched from the Plum tree or the garden fence.
We still heard thumping against the kitchen windows 
as she took our her frustration about the nesting material sliding off the box roof. It was a slanted roof! 

Then it rained. 

And, apparently, she could gather enough wet grasses that they didn't drift away in the breeze, they stayed put. Then she surprised us by starting to collect mud from the garden. We were convinced she had missed that part of nest building construction. Throughout the day she made numerous trip back and forth, working that mud along the grass with her beak, moving the mud caked grass into a circle, coating the inside of the progressing nest with mud.

I would watch her scoot her butt around the inside, smoothing the inside walls. The finally layers were fine short grass clippings from the lawn. 

When the huge storm came at the end of the day, with show stopping lightening and thunder, she was all snug in her new nest, perched on top of the nesting box. We can only pray that it doesn't slide off or the babies fall out from a two story height.

I did have to chuckle, when I remembered the Bird House Apron rack that the Studio Artists made for the show.  Remember this birdhouse?
Not so far fetched as we thought.

The storm did rock the wreath on the front porch and with four fully grown but still young Robin babies in it, we realized they weren't going to stay in the nest. We watched the first one launch himself off the back of one of his siblings. He went under the deck, smart bird. We didn't see the other two leave but while Riley and John were putting up a nesting shelf for the Swallows they watched the last Robin baby launch itself out of the nest.

Country Robin parents are different from City Robins. There are no fat baby Robins with freckled breasts following the parents around for handouts.
Country Robins say, "Hey, here's the grass, there are the worms, it's not Rocket Science".

I know it's a terrible picture but I really didn't want to disturb the Barn Swallow creating her nest.

To the right of the nesting ledge you can see those dark spots. That's the mud she tried to get to attach to the beam. She had those mud spots all over the beam.
John couldn't stand it anymore so he and Riley went down to the shop and made a ledge. They got out the ladder and attached it to the beam.

This morning while walking by the door with my camera and coffee I saw her perched up there, with mud in her beak. Her mate was sitting on the open bedroom window, watching.

The Purple Finches, who have an almost grown family in the hanging plant pot looked on with interest. They seem to like the company. Robins, Barn Swallows, Purple Finches, they all get along and they all seem to think our front porch is PRIME real estate.

Lucky for them, we seldom use the front door, except for the UPS person, all visitors seem to like to come around to the back.

John and Riley put up two more Bluebird houses in the back yard. John sprayed the posts pale blue with Riley's approval.

Riley and I checked the Bluebird house in the orchard and it's a working nest.  I felt around and found one tiny little blue egg. I showed it to Riley and put it back. She's getting to know her birds.
I noticed that the Bluebird in the front of the house has a pair going in and out.  I also can hear a Wren nearby. I have to keep an eye on the nesting boxes because Wren's are vicious. They will start building a stick nest right on top of an ongoing Bluebird nest.
The male Wren will often fill the nesting box up to the entrance with sharp little sticks, try to entice a female to move in. If she turns up her little beak he moves on to another box. 
So, I have to keep checking to make sure the boxes were Wren free.

The Baltimore Orieols seem to love the flower buds on the Plum tree. I can see at least four male and female birds congregating in the tree.  They also like the grape jelly and orange slices that Riley and I provided for them. I suspect they are nesting nearby like last year.

Mrs. Dove is still happy in her nest behind the blinking light peacock decoration on the Studio Barn.

The Red Wing Blackbird has four ladies in the prairie. He seems to be keeping the Red Tailed Hawk from floating over the yard and house. He spends most of his time in his lookout perch at the top of the Willow tree.

Between the frog song in the evening and the birdsong during the day, I have to say that May really is my favorite month. I've waited so long through winter for this. I love the flowering fruit trees, they are gorgeous this year. I love watching the different shades of spring green appear on the trees. I really do love spring.

Ok, off to the Studio, the art ladies are showing up to help finish making these print boards.

DO SOMETHING CREATIVE TODAY, it will make your soul sing.



  1. Loved reading your bird stories! I could watch the birds all day! Yesterday we watched a young mockingbird try to catch a hopping grasshopper across the yard and we laughed and laughed. He finally caught him, he never gave up.

  2. I've got robins in my serbian pine and a really "thick" robin who spent a month running into my dining room bay window only to go "duh, the snowball bush is to the right." She finally got the next built--precariously in the low snowball bush. Yesterday after I walked by and scared her, I peaked in the nest. Two pretty blue eggs. Soon I'll clean the muddy mess mama left on my window. I now truly understand the phrase "bird brain."

    Things are looking beautiful in your neck of the woods. Here the Siberian iris are just blooming. The snowballs are on their last legs and summer came yesterday with 90 degree vengeance. I'm with you. Love, love, love May. D