Friday, April 10, 2015

4034. More bird fuss

Friday, April 10, 2015

Well, I'm still battling the black birds who have decided to nest in my dryer vent.  I have the netting and the duct tape to block the vent, and the ladder to reach it, but it has rained and/or been windy every day.  The few periods of dry, Daughter has not been home, and I don't want to climb that high without someone to "spot" me.  So, there's a towel in the dryer that gets dried over and over, to blow out nesting materials and attempt to convince the birds the vent is not a good place.

Rocky suggested the birds might be starlings.  I didn't think so because they have no white speckles and no iridescence, I've seen them at a distance of two feet through the sliding glass patio door, but the more I read about starlings, the more I think maybe she's right.

Starling bills are yellow in nesting season, the size is right, the tails are right, and starlings nest in holes.  Starlings, when they find a good hole, are very aggressive about keeping it, defending it against other birds and animals, even to removing the nests of others, destroying the eggs of others, and killing the nestlings of others.

These two sure are determined to keep this hole, so yeah, I think maybe starling is right.  This is New Jersey.  There are lots of stories here about oddly-colored birds.  Two summers ago I saw several robins in the back yard with white edges on their wings and tails.  Lots of Super Fund sites around.  Raritan Bay.  Major air and ground pollution.  Outflow from the East River.  Odd coloring is the least of possibilities.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

4033 More birds! I'm under attack!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

There is a pair of tiny birds building a nest in the wreath on my front door.  When I opened the front door this morning they were hard at work, and fluttered away chirping.

The wreath is a grape vine and silk flower arrangement that Daughter and the Nugget had made for me.  The flowers are very large, so the birds had been able to tuck the nest behind them pretty much out of sight.

There are no leaves on the trees yet, not even any swollen buds, so maybe the birds are desperate for hidden spots.

I pulled the little circle of grass out.  The door opens inward, so when a parent is sitting on eggs and I open the door, the bird would be IN the house.  Not a good idea. I'm kind of hoping they try the porch light.  That wouldn't bother me.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

4032 Doves

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Doves have to be the stupidest birds ever.

The street at the country house doesn't have curbs.  The side of the road is gravel. There's a tree at the end of the driveway that every spring releases fluffy puffs of fragile twigs of white something-or-other that looks for all the world like snow. It forms drifts up to a foot deep up and down the road.

We had a pair of doves that every spring built their nest smack on the gravel on the side of the road, in the midst of the floral "snow", just a few feet north of my mailbox. Every day the mailman flattened the nest, and every day the doves rebuilt it. Eventually the "snow" disintegrated, and the doves would give up.

Never saw any eggs.

There was a huge dense daffodil bed close by, and an acre of lawn, not to mention the woods.  I will never understand why they chose the road, year after year.

Update - to the new house.  For the past two weeks, every time I go out to the front porch for a cigarette, there has been a dove sitting on the electric wires passing over the end of the yard. You can tell it's a dove even in silhouette by the tiny head out of proportion with the chubby body.  It sits facing me.  Staring at me or the house. Unmoving. Eerie. It was really starting to bother me.  Shouldn't it be out foraging somewhere?

In front of the front door there's a rubber doormat.  This morning I discovered the beginnings of a dove nest on the doormat, on the hinge side of the door.  You can tell it's a dove nest because it's long fine grasses curved into a circle.


How have doves managed to still be here?  Their survivor skills are nil.  They have to be the stupidest birds ever!

Monday, April 06, 2015

4031 Bird Begone!

Monday, April 6, 2015

There's a pair of birds who have decided to build a nest in the exhaust vent for my clothes dryer.  Birds tried last year, too, but I foiled them by making sure the flap was closed all the time.  It tends to stick open after I've dried a load, so I whack it with a mop handle to close it.

This pair however has learned to open the flap, so when I hear them scrabbling around in the tube, (in the kitchen ceiling), I run the dryer to chase them out, and blow out the sticks and grass they had taken in.  We've been battling for three days now, and they haven't given up yet.

I have some plastic netting with holes small enough to keep birds out, and large enough to not obstruct lint or whatever, and duct tape to stick it over the vent, but it has been so windy I didn't want to climb a ladder.  The vent cover is about 10 feet up, so I have to use the big ladder.

Looks like today is the day.

I don't know what kind of birds they are.  The male and female look alike, both about the size of a robin.  The head is dark black, and the body is a slightly lighter black.  Beak and legs are yellow.  At first I thought they might be grackles, but they're a bit small for grackles, and they have shorter tails that taper to a point.  There doesn't seem to be any white on them anywhere, and no iridescence that I can see.

Any birders out there who can identify them?  Whatever they are, they're pretty smart, but not easily discouraged.