Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If I Don't Move, You Can't See Me...

Funny how bird brains, based upon motion, think everyone else's brains are based primarily upon motion as well.  Colors, object permanence, things that are out-of-place, beauty, sound, scent... these all play significant roles in human cognition and memory.  So when I chased out the mourning doves from the grape arbor before we moved out, because they were making a big mess with nesting materials and fecal matter and their utter stupidity as the slow-and-dumb bird species of my backyard, the pair of enterprising robins who had been jonesing for a nesting spot seized the day.  The robin couple had previously built a deep, mud lined nest, 1 foot away from my shiny, polished, stainless steel gas grill, and had already begun using the grill & its cover as a launching pad & toilet.  I did not want to move robin fecal matter, so before they laid their eggs, I evicted their nest wholesale, a week earlier.

So on moving-out day, I looked up, and saw Mrs Robin, sitting on her newly usurped home.  I am sure it was not as cozy as the big, deep, mud lined and fastidiously constructed robin nest I had tossed.  It was built by clueless mourning doves after all - the same species who built on top of my 8 foot ladder in Phoenix, and who (I've read & heard from biologists) are delicious prey for Peregrine Falcons.  Mrs. Robin didn't move... her tiny bird brain thinking "that clumsy bipedal nearly hairless ape can't see me, if I DON'T MOVE... no matter what you do... protect the nest...  DON'T MOVE".  Her orange breasted mate chirping angrily from the fence, about 15 feet away, trying to distract the clumsy ape.  I left her alone.   I'm moving out after all, and her and her children's fecal matter will be something the new owners will have to deal with.

That... along with 2 nests of house finches who immediately re-took-up residence on the Bose speakers mounted on the outside of the house pointing towards the pool, about 25 feet from where the robins had nested.  The finches are communal birds, with 4 to 6 adults caring for each nest, aunts and uncles working together to help the mating pair.  The first year we lived in the house, we thought they were cute.  Cute, until the babies fledged, pooped all over the pool furniture, and had fecal matter dripping down the outside of the kitchen window (yeah, ew).  So really, the "whole neighborhood was going to the birds!" once we left...  = )

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