I should have known… If you leave fibery temptation out in the open, it’s likely to fly away. SIGH…. You do all that work…..dyeing up the fiber. Hang it out to dry and WHAT HAPPENS? Some little feathered thief makes off with a beak-full of your mohair! Last May, I glanced out the picture window to back porch laundry line, where I spied a bird earnestly pulling tufts off the mohair I’d hung there to dry! Squawking alarm, I dashed out to shoo the bird, and found a laundry line mohair mess. There was more mohair underfoot and wafting away in the breeze, skittering across the back lawn. I may have sulked a little. THEN TODAY: While out watering the garden, I find this fallen nest under a tree. The “awwww” factor has set in, and I sulk no more….
The nest is made with the stolen mohair, though I also find bits of rust or jade color merino (which I hadn’t even noticed missing! So some of you may have purchased slightly less than the standard 4 oz). The white turns out to be plenty wildflower seed fluff & some dryer lint. Weren’t those clever parent birds, to build a nest using the finest, softest fibers around our home? With spring well behind us, I’m sure those nesting babies have already left their luxurious cradle; off to a well-pampered start in life. Perhaps this formative experience lingers in their brain, so I should be sure to set out fiber ON PURPOSE early next spring, ahead of nest-building season. Then…..like swallows returning to Capistrano….our fiber filching feathered friends might return to raid my laundry line for nest building material. Gee, I can hardly wait!
Over on the front porch, the action continues with bird nests, feeders, water dish and squirrels. We are avid backyard birders….enjoying our Blackcap Chicadees, Towhees, Wrens, Finches, assorted Sparrows, and the elusive Oriole. My husband doubts Mr. Oriole’s existence, since I have yet to capture a full image. I swear he’s real, and even has a lighter, yellowy companion. I – just – need – a – full on – photo, to score confirmation points!
See the birdhouse we installed atop a porch post, under the roof & out of the weather? Three years ago, a pair of chickadees began housekeeping in earnest, bringing tufts of moss & decorating the interior. That is…until GORGO the GIANT ROBIN decided the birdhouse roof was a fine nesting spot and took over. Each year, robins have reclaimed the nest and raised more babies, inspiring the carved spinning wheel hooks below.
We also have a trio of squirrels: the ubiquitous brown squirrel, a svelte California Ground Squirrel, and more recent addition of this velvety Gray Squirrel, with it’s plumed tail. For all their reputed prowess at busting birdfeeders, none of the squirrels has successfully raided this metal version, although the Gray gave it good effort, before calling it quits and settling for a porch-post nap.
Initially, I hadn’t welcomed the squirrels, wanting to discourage them from frightening off the birds. After weeks of effort made it abundantly clear I’d never permanently deter them, I caved in. If you can’t beat ’em, feed ’em. The pie plate offering of squirrel food has satisfied the furry critters. Last, a plastic plant tray balanced on the rail with a line of pebbles serves both bird and beast. The squirrels haven’t knocked it down, just nimbly leap over it, causing nary a ripple. And guess what? Squirrels don’t lap water like a cat – they stretch their necks out to submerge their chin and gulp! It’s rather funny to see. Eventually I hope to get a photo.
Turns out, squirrel-watching has it’s own merits. Hmmmm… I wonder if they use Mohair to line their nests?
= = = = UPDATE 7-23-2013, Tues = = = = = = = = =
My mystery bird wasn’t an oriole. It’s a Black-headed Grosbeak, as identified with the help of Planet of Birds identification guide.