Friday, April 25, 2008

"Stubbirds" (our backyard territorial warriors)

I’ve been fighting a battle. My opponents are steadfast and determined. They are beyond stubborn—the nickname I’ve assigned them does not do them justice. Their exact genus and species are insignificant. They are nondescript birds, drab little sparrows or finches or something or other, and they want to make a home in the eave of our back patio roof.

So far, we’ve been equally determined to fend them off. Todd and I have unapologetically removed their earnest home-building efforts a total of four times. Four. We’ve watched them watching us, twigs in their mouths, flashing us with the evil eye. And each time, under their baleful gaze, we’ve torn down their lovingly constructed nest.

Lest you judge us as nature haters, let me explain. Last year, some house finches built a cozy little spot in the same location. And we, sympathetic and charmed by their innocence and tweetness, permitted the intrusion. It was cute, it was dear, they hatched their little family and fed them and nurtured them and eventually the hatchlings flew away. BUT.

What remained after the coop had been flown was a nasty little microscopic creature called the bird mite. Hateful, tiny, biting, itching beast. We couldn’t shake them. We washed the patio furniture, washed it again, went from cool to warm to boiling hot water when scrubbing the cushions—all to no avail. Finally, the situation came to a standoff: any furniture item with a hard surface was bleached; anything softer was grudgingly packed in garbage bags, left out on collection morning, and replaced with new cushions. It was quite a maddening experience.

And I won’t suffer that defeat a second time. Cozy nests be damned; there are trees all around, perfectly sound, safe, stable locations for bird homes. They can just as well build there—and leave their horrific mites there as well.

So far, so good—after the fourth teardown, we’ve gone a full 24 hours without an attempted rebuild. I remain ever watchful, broom in hand. They won’t win this round. Not while I’m on guard.


Mel said...

the update: we tore down the nest and unbelievable TWO MORE TIMES in a single day. yup, today. stubbirds.

Anonymous said...

you need to go buy "tanglefoot" at the agway or some similar store. It is a horrible product like glue that sticks to their little feet and freaks them out. When they finally get away, they dont come back. We had the exact same problem several years ago. covered the sweet spot the birds wanted with chicken wire and shutting garage door worked. BUT next step was the Tanglefoot.

Mel said...

Mom told me about that stuff, too. They had to use it above the door once. I guess we'll go that route if we must. : (