Location, location, location

I think robins take the prize in being some of the dumbest birds on the planet. Now, I like robins — at least to look at them and hear them sing, anyways. But they are incredibly messy and dumb. No other bird species in our neighborhood is as responsible for as many trips to the local car wash. I’m beginning to think the car wash franchises have found a way to bribe the darn critters into doing their “dirty” work for them! And as for dumb — what other bird builds its nest a couple of feet off the ground, in a loop of wire, on someone’s porch? And then has the audacity to squawk every time a human walks by?

We just finished some major house renovations last fall, which included converting the existing front and back porches to a new three-quarter wrap-around porch. With the arrival of spring, the robins have taken it upon themselves to use our banister railings as a “poop” deck, literally. Since we’ve been waiting for the warmer weather to get out and paint or stain the new porch, I’m worried about having to keep cleaning off this acid rain before the wood bursts into flame.

But that’s not the worst of it, yet. Ben cleaned out his work truck and we have some boxes temporarily stored on the porch while we look for other homes for them. One of these boxes is a plastic milk crate containing several small cardboard boxes and a roll of electrical wire, which is resting on its side in a large loop.

And guess what? We discovered a bird’s nest on the wire. Yep, a robin has found a way to weave its nest so that it rests on the wire, just above the top of the plastic crate. I’ve got to say, though, the robin did some mighty fine nest-building. I just have to wonder at the bird’s sanity.

Now, I can understand the incredibly desirable location — after all, it’s got a nice roof to keep the rain off the bird’s nest, and being right up next to our house at least shields the nest from the worst of the wind. I suppose that helps keep it warmer, too. But I can’t really understand why a bird builds its house so low to the ground (or in this case, the porch floor). We have cats, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, and the occasional unleashed dog running rampant through our yard. I’ve also seen a bald eagle fly over the yard. But maybe that explains it; the eagle is probably the most fearsome predator of any of these animals.

We were going to oust the nest before the robin got too cozy, and we didn’t see any signs that the nest was being lived in. Ben thought that he had frightened the robin away when he went out on the porch the other day. But then Tuesday I went out to the side porch and there was a robin sitting on the nest. It promptly flew away when I got within ten feet of the nest, but then sat on the banister and yelled at me. And pooped.

On Tuesday there was one little blue egg in the nest. Yesterday, there were two eggs. And also yesterday, we got some nice porch furniture, which we aren’t going to ignore just because of a bird.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting, as we see how the robin family is going to adjust to having humans in its front foyer. Neither of us wants to just toss the nest away, and there’s no place that we can easily relocate it to without either breaking the nest apart or scaring the parent bird away for good. No matter how messy they are, the robins will help keep the mosquito population under control, so I’m going to be needing their help pretty soon. They’re welcome in our yard; I just wish they’d stayed in the yard!

Right now the crate is at the back corner of the house, but I’m thinking of pushing it along the porch until it’s just below the bathroom window. Then, I can look out the window and photograph the birds from inside the house. Is that lazy nature photography, or what? Bookmark this page; I’ll have some photos to post of the nest and the eggs to post later this week.

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