Saturday, June 29, 2013

A New Neighbor

Grace got a birdhouse kit from my parents for her birthday.  As soon as testing was over, she went to work, putting it together and painting it (with some help from her interested sisters).  She chose to hang it in our front yard, off the middle of a branch, where it sways in the wind. 
I had my doubts about any bird actually building a nest in it, however.  The beginning of June is a little late in the nest-building cycle, for one thing.  And for another thing, what self-respecting bird builds a nest in a brightly painted box swaying off a branch of a tree nestled between our driveway and front walk?!  That's like building a house that backs up to the intersection of the Beltway and I-95, as far as traffic goes!
So Grace and Anna went off to Grandma/Grandpa camp.  During the week they were gone, I noticed that there appeared to be signs of a nest inside the house!  And eventually we were able to see the mom--a little sparrow, although I can't tell what kind.  [Edited a second time to add:  It's (actually!) a house wren.  I identified a bird by its song!  How fun!]  Grace was quite excited to have a tenant, and this made Jonathan, who had also received a birdhouse kit for his birthday, get right on the stick and put his together and paint it.  He hung his in the backyard (a much more suitable location, LOL), but I think it truly is too late in the season now, so alas, his has remained empty.  When we were in Ohio, my mom gave Anna a birdhouse she had been given that she wasn't going to use, so now that one is also hanging in our backyard.  Maybe next year.
In our quest to learn more about birds, I got out a fascinating book from the library called Secret Lives of Common Birds by Marie Read.  It's not too long, with beautiful photos, but it has all sorts of interesting information about various birds and their quirky habits, organized by seasons.  I'm really enjoying it!  I really wish I could recognize birds by their calls, like my botany and ecology professor, Dr. Silvius.  I have even added a book and CD to my amazon wish list!  Maybe that will be next summer's project for me!

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