empty nest

this spring we had two bird families building nests on our house. the birds annexed a back corner near our garage and the little alcove right outside our front door.

the back nest had a sad end when i asked jesse to peek in the nest to see if there were eggs. he discovered three pretty blue ones, but unfortunately discovered them by accidentally tipping them out and onto the ground to break.

but the front door nest flourished. it was a little alarming all spring to walk outside and immediately have a startling bird take to the wing 3 feet from your face, but we let the mama proceed unhindered, and she built a really sweet and sturdy nest.

well the babies all hatched and seemed to be doing well.

last week i could finally see them from the ground, their little yellow beaks peeking out. i decided to try to take some pictures of the tiny fellas so i got a big 5 gallon paint bucket to stand on and grabbed my camera while judah and i were playing outside one evening.

now our little alcove is just that--little. its only as deep as the front door is wide. but it is pretty tall. so tall that, even on my bucket, i had to hold the camera over my head and kind of shoot blindly to get all of the bird's faces.

so there i am, back to the front door, on my little bucket, camera overhead with judah watching me down below.

i am looking at the pictures i am taking and thinking, "wow, the miracle of life. what tiny, precious, helpless little creatures. so simple and fragile."

precious little guys. though that middle one looks like a rough character with that stank face

i reach over to get a few closeups, inching the camera a leeeeetle further, and all of a sudden somebody sets of a wildlife bomb.

all 3 birds explode out of the nest. so now my face is trapped up there with three startled teenage birds who are very much capable of flight.

as they pelted my head ,camera and torso, i freak right on out. i launch/fall off of my bucket, screaming as tiny hollow-boned avian bodies pummel me. all i can think is, "i wasnt even snogging lavender brown in the common room! why did hermione oppogno me?"

all thought of delicate life forms have departed. the predator has become the prey. these are bloodthirsty pecking machines.

naturally this scene must have looked amazing to my neighbors, many of whom were outside and saw me screeching, "waaaaaaah! ayyyY! oh my gosssssh!" and flailing around (braless....like you do) my front yard. judah is thoroughly confused and delighted by this new development.

the neighbors start wandering off of their porches, looking on with concern as i calm down and realize there are no more animals in my hair. i start dying laughing and wave to them telling them, "i'm okay. just some birds really close to my eyeballs!"

after all of commotion i realize that uh-oh, did i push them out of the nest too early? they werent really flying so much as hovering wildly as they tried to gain their wing-equilibrium. have i doomed them? am i going to have to clean up their carcasses if they die of heart failure right now?

two of the babies are able to get into a nearby tree where their mama is giving me the chirrupy business, but one little guy is just panting in the grass, unmoving, trying to regain his composure. he have probably burned all the calories from his last regurgitated wormy mash meal in his adrenaline-fueled escape from the giant yellow-head.

so to try to undo what would have inevitably become a lifelong terror of baby birds in judah after witnessing this level 5 freakshow, i take him over to look at the birdie and he immediately falls in love and MUST get closer and closer.

visions of bird flu or whatever the hell other reasons there are that we humans are not supposed to touch the winged fill my head as i try to simultaneously get the 3 year old near the bird and photograph him, but prevent him from actually touching it using only my words.

i lack both the photography skills AND the parenting skills to pull this off without inane outbursts of mommy fear, followed by "awwwws" and laughter at the weirdness of it all.

the last victim/perpetrator of my episode.

meet n greet

the bird is wise to not turn his back on him completely

so hard to not touch (but he did great)

feathered friend turns his nose up

wow, we live in country idyll. way to go, us.

synchronized posing. favorite

locking eyes.

mama bird is right there on our mailbox handle. revenge-pooping on it. fair enough

i felt very planet earth wildlife photographer sneaking close on my belly to this cagey beast. the neighbors, again, must have been charmed by this.

needless to say, they havent been back since.


  1. levi kept saying "hi birdie, h-hi birdie". And I love that at least half of the photos on your blog are of a kid in a diaper or underwear

  2. ha. hilarious. PETA wouldn't be quite as impressed as I am. Meh.

    why can't i be your neighbor? i'd just prepare to be wetting my pants laughing all the time and wear adult diapers anytime I stepped out to peer your direction.

  3. Kathy Eimerbrink6/6/12, 9:25 AM

    OMG - what a coincidence - we had a bird make a nest on our front yard bush. The little birds flew away just 2 days ago. love the pictures!

  4. Oh, thank you for this post! I just laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more! I had a similar experience with birds a couple years ago and after it, I just couldn't let birds build a nest in our porch again...it was too traumatic! Our new house hasn't had the issue of birds building nests, so I haven't had to worry about it since then. Whew!

  5. So am I the only one to feel like the area around that nest looks like the set of an avian horror flick? ....

  6. i love it when the wildlife moves in on my house. this year we had 2 nests. i am always freaked out when they fly away after only 7 days. so glad ours dont grow up that quickly :)
    ps. basically in last place in your contest...but i hurt my shoulder carrying loads of hardwood floors. i will keep telling myself that to feel better.

  7. Oh, crud. This was funny. Only because every day right now, I drag out our ladder and photograph our nesting birds in progress. I hope I don't FALL OFF THE DANG LADDER.

    Great piece. :)