Â First it was theÂ moles…then theÂ raccoons…now it’s the birds. I declared war on the moles two years ago and it’s become my Viet Nam. Two years of all out effort…grub killer spread on the lawn…mole traps when I find active runs…mole chaser instruments stuck in the ground (I think they’re really mole attractors)…and still I’m no closer to elimination than I was two years ago.Â I’ve been spending more and more time out at the lake and it’s a good thing I’ve been here. A pair of sparrows built a nest on top of one of the wicker blinds on the deck. I saw it Wednesday evening so I went out and took it down.
You all probably know I really do like animals, but there is a time and place, and a nest directly over the grill isn’t a good place. I know that a lot of birds, when they’re young and still in the nest, will relieve themselves in a contained bag (where they buy them I don’t know) and the mother will drop the bag out of the nest to keep predators away. I’m guessing the packagesÂ wouldn’t make a very good condiment for the hot dogs and burgers, so something had to be done.
So I reached up with a pair of gloves and grabbed the nest. I thought they had just finished making it when two small eggs came rolling out and smashed on the deck. The third egg had a hole where my glove brushed against it, so the brood was history. So am I a murderer? It’s like the argument about abortion. Some think that it isn’t a human being until born. Others think it is a human being when it’s conceived. SoÂ did I destroyÂ little unhatched birds or were they just eggs? Another quandary to keep me awake at night.
Guilty or not, I felt sorry for the two birds who, when they came back, looked all over for their children. I watched them for about ten minutes leaving, then coming back looking as if they had missed something and their babiesÂ were still there somewhere. I just happened to look out at the pontoon boat, and a sparrow (cousin to the deck nesters) went in a small gap in the cover to the bimini top. A minute later the bird came out and it’s mate, who was waiting patiently on one of the poles propping up the boat cover, went in the same hole with a blade of dead grass.
This went on several times and I realized they were making a nest in that canvasÂ cover. I didn’t like not being able toÂ use the pontoon until they had laid eggs, hatched them, defecated out the hole onto the canvas boat cover, fed them all kinds of things I didn’t want on the boat, then to all fly away only to vacate the space long enough for another pair to move in and call it home. So I marched down, unbuttoned half the boat cover, unzipped the cover to the bimini top and scattered the weeds and dead grass all over the pontoon (inside and out), the canvas cover and the lake.
I stuffed an old t-shirt (from back in my Greenpeace days) into the hole so they couldn’t get in anymore, thinking that would stop them. Jean came out Thursday evening and I was telling her about both incidents. We looked out at the boat, and the sparrows had gone in one of the loose ends of the cover to the bimini top, walkedÂ through the inside ofÂ the “sleeve” to the center where the t-shirt was, pushed just enough of it out the hole to make a nice soft landing spot, and were back in the housing business.
Friday morningÂ I went out and did the same as I had on Wednesday, except I stuffed half the shirt in the hole and left half of it out. When we take the pontoon out for a ride we look like Ma and Pa Kettle (most of you are too young to know who they were)Â with laundry hanging on the boat to dry, but hopefullyÂ the sparrows have given up.
Not so fast. I wrote the preceding paragraphs Saturday. On Sunday we had the Trilanders who had not gone to Traverse City (congratulations to the runners, by the way) for a run around the lake. After everyone left, Jean and I were sitting on the front deck trying to decide when to ride the bikes, when I saw a sparrow fly into one of the open ends of the cover to the bimini top, again!! I marched down with some twine, unzipped the cover and turned out the grass and feathers (and 2 eggs) and tied the ends tight so they couldn’t get back in. I’ve been looking for a nickname, so now maybe “killer” will stick.
Jean and I went for a bike seat fit in Grand Rapids Friday afternoon. It was like going with Jean to buy running shoes. She tries on every pair in the store, picks one out that’s just OK, knowing she will bring it back later. Jean took 90% of the time and I went through my entire fit in the remainder. Based on the measurements, they moved my seat an inch forward and an inch higher.
To you non-bikers, that doesn’t seem like much, but in seat fitting and bike riding, that’s a lot!! We did another ride from Hastings to the stop sign past Hopkins, then came back, this time with little wind. I started squirming on the seat at 20 miles…by 35 miles I was in dire straights and by 50 miles I was ready to get off and walk with 8.59 miles to go. My rear end is sore and it hurts just to sit in a soft easy chair. I’ll give it one more shot. If it isn’t any better, it’s going back to where it was.
Better go see if there are any more critters trying to take the cottage by storm.
Just (Shouldn’t Have Messed With My Seat) Jack