Keeping House

Today’s post comes from Linda.

One of the projects I have been putting off way too long, and finally got to this summer, was to re-roof an old birdhouse I’d gotten from one of my gardening clients. It’s a very old weathered wood house that had been chewed on by a critter of some sort, and I had put it aside when the old roof fell apart.

I rounded up the wood scraps, saw, hammer, nails, ruler and pencil necessary to play Norm Abram for an hour, and hung the completed project on a panel of the old gazebo out back.

I felt rather pleased to be able to check it off my to-do list, but even more pleased when two days later I spotted some nesting material poking out of the opening.

After consulting a local wild bird store, I invested in some live mealworms to help provide a steady food supply for the parents and the offspring that were likely to follow soon. One of the parent birds became quite bold when s/he realized what I was delivering, and would come perch on the feeder while I sprinkled the mealworms from the container. The birds became a bit shy when I tried to film them, but I captured a few short videos of feeding time.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l17jw3bbm3u7vjw/wren2.mov?dl=0

The activity intensified when the little ones hatched out. They were hungry, and talked about it a lot. The bold little wren actually brushed a wing against my hand one morning in its eagerness to get breakfast started. I was a little concerned that it was becoming too tame for its own good!

Do you cut corners on safety when you’re in a hurry? Do you worry about your family and friends who do?

45 thoughts on “Keeping House”

  1. Wonderful footage, Linda, and good on you for being such a caring neighbor for your birds. You need not worry about making your birds tame. They know perfectly well who you are and that you are not a threat. They will continue to be appropriately cautious with humans they don’t know to be friends.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That’s pretty cool- And that you got a wren in there right away and not something like a cowbird or grackle!

    Man, being in a hurry always leads to accidents. Seen it too many times. I’ve got a pretty good voice in my head that warns me because I’ve been there and done it and I’m lucky I’m still alive. So I try really hard not to cut corners on safety.
    But you know, there are sometimes you don’t even realize what might come your way. You *think* you’re being careful, you’re just filling a tire or something and BOOM, the tire explodes. Or whatever. You just don’t know sometimes.
    Just the other day I had a conversation with someone; the original plan was a railing along the back of the stage. He thought the curtain was enough and if he strapped it down tight, it was sort of tight enough no one would slip an ankle through.
    And I had ask, Is there really an issue bringing railings? Because when it comes down to it, I’m always going to push for safety. We got railings. I think he was just being lazy.

    And it’s interesting how much that mindset has changed. Thirty years ago no one used safety lines or thought much about it and if you asked for a hard hat they made fun of you to keep your head down.
    Then 20 years ago it started getting a little more serious and if you wanted a hardhat, someone would go dig one out of the ‘Safety Locker’ somewhere. Ten years ago it was serious business and you just wore a hardhat and everywhere had safety lines installed and these day it’s just a given. And if you’re not doing it safely, you’ll get called on it. At least in the professional places.
    There’s aways going to be amateur hour and some young kid who hasn’t learned the right way yet. Hopefully they live long enough to learn safer ways.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I never put air in a bicycle tire with anything but a hand pump, so I was never in any danger of an exploding tire.

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  3. My dad was a risk taker, hence his three fingers that were mangled by the lawnmower blades he was certain had stopped moving.

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  4. The research on the ability of birds to recognize individual faces is well publicized but fascinating. A U of Washington researcher directed grad students to trap a population of crows. The students wearing caveman masks deliberately upset the crows by messing. Students in Dick Cheney masks were gentle and respectful. Long after the study did its thing, anyone approaching that flock of crows in a caveman mask was mobbed and attacked. Anyone in a Dick Cheney mask was tolerated.

    Remarkably, those crows continued to hate anyone in the caveman mask many years later, when the crows that had been upset by the caveman had died. Their offspring continued to hold a grudge against anyone in the caveman mask.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’ll exceed the speed limit a little bit if I’m in a hurry, but that’s as risky as I get when I’m driving. I get a lot of toe, shin, knee, and elbow bruises when I’m moving about and still think I’m 24 instead of 64. Old bodies just don’t reach and function as fast and as well as young bodies do.

    My family is pretty much safety conscious. We don’t come from a long line of risk-takers. My dad used to go for the occasional ride in an ultralight plane or glider, but that’s about it. I contemplated jumping off a 10-meter diving platform once or twice in college (U of Miami had a world-class swimming/diving pool on campus.) But the 3-meter board was more than enough risk for me to take. Proud to say I went in feet first; no belly flop.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rise and Shine with your feet firmly planted on planet Earth, Baboons,

    I try not to take risks after scaring myself early in life (I once realized, soon after I got my drivers license that I was driving way too fast on a gravel road). Other than that, Ben really said it all.

    Wrens are such a fun, loud-mouthed bird. I love your recordings, Linda. Our wrens had a successful nest this year, and seeing flight school was a delight—little fluff balls with no control careening around their air space.

    I have been in considerable gallbladder pain for the last two days. I am trying to figure out what I eat that will be off limits for some time. My surgery is next Thursday. My siblings properties were hit by the derecho that blew through Iowa Monday. Neither place has electricity for the third day. COVID has invaded my mother’s LTC which I find frightening—suddenly they have 5 cases. Life has felt really hard lately, so who needs to take risks for a thrill. Just waking up has been all I can handle lately.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. This video of “your” wrens made my day, Linda. I love how someone found a way to make that entrance hole smaller, or maybe that was the original design?…

    Yes, I’m sure I cut corners – literally when driving – when I’m in a hurry. And I don’t wear a bike helmet, have been known to out on a small lake without a life jacket… But all in all I’m reasonably careful.

    I used to worry about Husband when he was on the motorcycle (he did wear a helmet), but he just got rid of that. : ) : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The metal ring is called a portal protector, or predator guard. I got it at my local wild bird store many years ago. They no longer have this particular design, just some metal rings that are much plainer.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Not too far OT: A friend who is also a Prius owner just called to warn me that people are stealing the catalytic converters from Priuses and selling them on the black market (and they’re expensive and getting hard to find replacement ones). If any baboons have a Prius, there are several articles on the web, and apparently there’s a cover you can buy to protect…

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  9. At this stage of my life, I err on the side of caution. It wasn’t always so. I have come to appreciate, though, that if you know what you’re doing, and have confidence based on experience, you can do things that may be difficult without hurting yourself or others.

    That said, I’m in a near constant state of panic over tim. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I just had my pre-surgery COVID test (no symptoms, just medical protocol). My head was at risk. The nurse pushes that swab in your nose then out the ear. OK. Not quite, but very, very unpleasant.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Guys who hunt and fish might start out being careful, but often give in to the temptation to take chances. Guys often egg each other on when they should be urging friends to be sensible. A friend who pushed the boundaries ended up drowning in a trout river. I was mostly cautious, but I realize I was lucky not to have paid the ultimate price a few times. With only a single exception, every risky thing I did was associated with hunting or fishing.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Bird related:

    Many years ago I saw a bird in the neighbors field. Took a picture of it using my phone through binoculars and sent it to the neighbor, who sent it to her dad who told us they were Sandhill Cranes.
    And then, a few weeks ago, I saw 5 of them fly over our house. And then a few days ago, they flew over again, but this time one of them was calling as they went.
    And then! Those five were standing in my oats field last night. Couldn’t get very close and didn’t want to scare them off, and I tried the phone camera through the binoculars again. It it wouldn’t work so well this time.
    But it’s still cool to have them around
    .

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You have to have a lot of respect for photographers who get those great photos and videos of wildlife. It’s not very easy to have a camera pointed at the right spot at the right time with the right light and have it focused. And not scare off the subject.

      My wren pair often did this rather charming thing when I went out with the container of mealworms. They would both perch side by side on the rail of the gazebo and watch me as I approached with their wings fluttering rapidly. I was trying to catch that on video, but never could. It always looked to me as if they were saying “Mealworms! Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!”

      Liked by 5 people

  13. No. PPE is a no inconvenience on my construction jobs. I am seeing a lot of benefit. Awareness. Planning ahead. Communication between trades. Respect of needs of trades. My biggest fault is listening to music ( r&b).
    Most often music, even with earbuds, is forbidden. I violate that safety rule as often as each job Super allows.

    Liked by 6 people

  14. What a lovely post Linda. I also have a birdhouse that YA made many many years ago, as well as a small house that I bought and painted for my Nyssa in the garden. However I have put off varnishing the nyssa house for a long time and I’ve just finally done that this week. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m just trying to figure out the best place to put the birdhouse and then it will go out as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You also triggered another good memory for me. I have a lot of extended family in the Northwoods, and we used to vacation their summers and winters when I was growing up. One summer when I was in junior high I took my cassette player and walked up the driveway into the woods from the cabin and left it there turned on. I got about 45 minutes of just bird calls. I had that cassette tape for years and listened to it a lot. Of course I don’t have it any longer or any way to even play a cassette tape but sometimes when I am looking for complete comfort background noise I’ll get on the Internet and find a YouTube of just birdcall. Very calming for me.

    Liked by 2 people

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