Don’t get me wrong, I love birds. I’m in awe of their ability to fly, providing us with hours of viewing pleasure with their aerial acrobatics. Nest building, too, is an art. But, because of birds, we’ve never needed an alarm clock in the Spring! Starting at the crack of dawn, every morning the songfest ramps up until the cacophony reaches fever pitch. So, sleeping in is a very rare occurrence. Now that it is the last days of summer, our bird population has dwindled; as has the noise. Funny thing – I miss the noise…
The last of the swallows have left. Up until a week ago, we had one nest filled with 3 baby swallows. Suddenly, they were gone…back to Argentina…arrivederci!
Like the groundskeeper said in my post, Operation Swallow Adios that I wrote last year, I miss the swallows…
Several years ago, one of my nieces told me that my baby sister (her mother) is afraid of birds. Whoo, knew! You grow up with someone, think you know them, and then are surprised to learn something you didn’t know about them. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I digress.
We have so many birds on our property – and, no, I don’t know them all, nor can I name them all. Throughout the year, our feathered guests include both ravens and crows, roadrunners, egrets, Canadian geese, robins, blue jays, woodpeckers, owls, orioles, quail, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, hummingbirds and, of course, swallows.
For many years, we had a mated pair of Black Phoebes. They built a nest under the eave of our backyard patio and returned to that nest every year for many, many years until we lost that home in a fire in 2007. It’s nice to see that we still have Black Phoebes, although I doubt they are the original pair.
We also had a mated pair of crows; actually, I think they were ravens because they were quite large. One of them was quite animated, so I assume he was the male. He would, purposefully, fly head-first into our picture window, making a terrible racket. So, I named him Racket and his hovering mate, Ruckus.
Our kitchen window had an awning and two hanging plants on each end of the awning framing the window. He would fly from somewhere else on our property (usually a telephone pole or power pole), land in one of the hanging plants and start cawing at us. He always cawed four times. “Caw, caw, caw, caw.”
Perching on the hanging plant, he would spread his wings and fling himself forward into the window (there was probably a distance of two feet from the hanging plant to the window). Bang! The impact knocked him off-balance and with wings spread, he would flutter gracefully to the ground. Shaking his head and rustling his wings, he would walk about; probably to catch his breath and get his scrambled little brain to function again. “Caw, caw, caw, caw.”
Then he would take flight, land in the hanging planter and repeat the process all over again. He would do this over and over and over again. The routine varied, but the result was always the same: it was 6:30 in the morning and we were now wide awake without the use of a blaring alarm clock or a crowing rooster. The “Mad Crow of San Pasqual” had struck again!
If we went outside to try to engage him, he would fly away for several hours or even until the next day.
From the kitchen window, he graduated to our front living room window, which had a width of 13 feet. That part of the house had a flat roof and he would perch on the roof above the window and fling himself over, twisting his body and propelling himself onto the window, again screeching the whole time. Over and over and over again. He knew there was glass separating us, so it didn’t bother him if we got closer. But, if we went outside – gone in a flash.
Our laundry room, too, had a large picture window. This one had an outside ledge. He would just sit on that ledge cawing and cawing. When Racket first started his routine, we were concerned he would break the windows. But, while he appeared to come at these two windows (kitchen and living room) with full force, the glass withstood his assault.
The first time he graced us with his appearance, we were in another part of the house and came running to see what was going on! When we would enter the room, he would fly away. But, then he’d come back. We asked ourselves these questions, but had no answers:
- Was he trying to warn us about something?
- Did he view our house and property as his domain, so was trying to scare us off?
- Maybe, Coco our cat, was the reason for his insanity?
My husband believes it was the latter, Coco. While that might be partially true, I think he viewed us as interlopers and potential threats. While we liked to pretend he was a part of the family, he was probably protecting his territory and making sure we didn’t disturb his nest or offspring. By the way, we never found a nest or noticed offspring over the 3 years the pair hung around.
All this excitement changed when the fire in October 2007 destroyed our house and devastated our property. Since we moved back home, after rebuilding 5 years ago, they haven’t returned. My hope is that they found a home elsewhere and are
annoying charming another family.
Arrivederci, Racket and Ruckus – we miss you!
(other posts about birds)
- A Wing and a Prayer
- By Way of the Dodo Bird
- Exaltation of Larks!
- Operation Swallow Adios
- Sweet Baby James
- The Best Nests in the West
- The Birds and the Bees
- The Swallows Return to Capistrano South