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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

N&B (Nest & Breakfast)

OK, it's a terrible photo.  I was so shocked to look out the back door and see a pair of mallards swimming in our pool that I wasn't really concerned with photo quality.  So many thoughts ran through my head at once.  First on the list was "DON'T LET THE DOGS OUT."  I was just getting ready to let the boys out for their morning ritual and thank goodness I noticed our new house guests first.  I immediately yelled up the stairs to my daughter to get out of bed and look out the window and see the ducks swimming in the pool.  My next thought was "Please, please don't try and nest in my backyard!"  I know it's got a lovely private swimming pond, the garden is overgrown and tangled with lots of hidden places to build a nest and it seems private enough but how on earth could I keep a one and a half year old Jack Russell Terrier from terrorizing this feathered family until their babies were old enough to fly away?  I seems unlikely that a pair of ducks would seriously consider nesting in a suburban backyard, unless of course you've been through this before. 

Two years ago, in a different house we had almost the exact same conversation.  That particular pair of ducks were named Mildred & ______ (I've forgotten her husband's name already!).  We woke up one morning and there they were, swimming in the pool.  You think they're just stopping by but they keep showing up day after day, even after meeting the Boston Terrier who won't stop terrorizing them.  It was all fun and games until the men came to open the pool for the summer.  They found  a handful of duck eggs at the bottom as they were cleaning.  Poor Mildred had been trying to build a family.  I don't know why her eggs kept ending up in the pool but I felt so bad for her it was somewhat heartbreaking.

Last year we went away for the weekend and when we came back there was a brand new robin's nest right next to the door, on top of the porch light.  Mum and Dad robin were not happy to see us.  Everyone kept telling me to take the nest and get rid of it.  I just couldn't do it and we spent the next few months dodging angry parents, watching their cute little babies grow up and sometimes having to leave and enter the house via the side door.  That ended in a heart wrenching episode when the last little one to learn how to fly accidentally jumped out of the nest and landed right in my watering can.  Thanks goodness there was only a few inches of water in the there but the poor little guy was frozen, shivering and traumatized by the time I discovered him.

 The moral of the story is that it's cute to think of fluffy, furry and/or feathered creatures making their home with you but really it will just make you an overprotective surrogate parent and you'll find yourself treating your house and garden like they are a protected wildlife reserve.  You don't want to find yourself standing on a stepladder on the front porch putting a fledgling bird back in the nest while scolding it, saying "Now you just stay right there mister until you're sure you can fly.  I can't keep coming out here checking on you every five minutes until you're all grown up and besides, don't you know how dangerous it is out there?"  I'm sure my neighbors think I'm a little loony.

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