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Spring breeds another column featuring birds

| Wednesday, May 3, 2006

It wouldn't be spring at my house without a bird story.

My fascinating little feathered friends are always up to something new - in addition to some old habits.

A couple weeks before Easter I hung my perfectly shaped straw wreath, decorated with fake pysanky eggs, on an outside living room window, as I have done for several previous years.

Getting some cleaning done the week before Easter, I was hosing off the front porch and washing the windows.

That was when I first noticed the straggled wreath.

Fragments of straw were poking out from all directions.

My first thought was that it had reached the end of the line and needed to go after this Easter season.

Then I moved to do the same cleaning chores on the back porch and saw the long strands of yellow straw hanging from the top of a grapevine wreath that lives on one of those walls all year round.

It was the exact same spot where Mama Robin builds her nest every year.

I had threatened to remove the wreath for the spring nesting season, but I don't have the heart to do it.

The interesting part is I could watch from the kitchen window as the robin used her beak to pull up the strands of straw and weave them into her new nest.

She shuffled her big red belly around to form the indentation where her eggs would eventually rest.

Her construction job is now done and she and I are waiting for the eggs to be hatched. Sometimes she sits with her tail toward the window and sometime she changes to the opposite position.

Needless to say, the back porch is again off limits to visitors until the family of robins leaves.

I spend a lot of time looking out that kitchen window and the other day I saw another unusual adventure.

A tiny bird that I thought must be a baby woodpecker was bobbing its head in a constant motion at the branch of a lilac tree just off the porch.

It got so tired, it just stopped motionless.

By the time I returned with binoculars to see what was happening, the bird was back at work.

It was tugging away at the cord I used to secure a birdhouse in that tree. I imagine it just wanted strands from the cord for a nest building job somewhere else.

I'm familiar with cardinals, robins and wrens, but this bird was a stranger. It was very small and had a thick black streak at the top of its head.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. I love the birds and hope they will always be around - except the mean cardinal that attacked my windows last year.

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