One of the first things I couldn’t wait to do this spring was get a huge, beautiful hanging basket of flowers for the front porch. I turned out to not be the only one who admired my grand geraniums and ivy: a tiny, brown wren decided that basket would be the most lovely spot for her new nest.
I begged to differ. I removed the scraps of leaves and twigs from the plant. The bird put more in the basket. I tore them out. She brought some more. I started swearing as I tore them out. She stubbornly, tenaciously, and bull-headed came right back, with more nest materials, and started all over again each time I tore out her sloppy arts-and-crafts project in my plant.
Fine. I’ll compromise. I bought two beautiful birdhouses and put them up in the front yard. One even had a cute mini birdhouse attached to the birdhouse. Who could resist such unbelievable adorableness?
Well, this bird could. She rejected every tree and bush in the yard, every birdhouse I placed at her disposal, and single-mindedly returned to my flower basket, which was now pitiful looking from her digging, scratching, and cramming bits of twigs into every opening.
I frantically researched online how to get this hell-bird out of my damn plant. I tried adding toothpicks and upright sticks to the pot, in the now-bare spots from her hopping around like a damn fool in there. That resulted in me walking out to the porch one fine day to find my twigs tossed haphazardly in irritation onto the porch, out of her way, and the beginnings of a new nest in my plant.
I seethed. It was now war. It was me vs. this damn stubborn bird.
I bought toy snakes, because some Internet geniuses swore this would terrify the bird to her very core, and she would invariably leave my plant alone. Instead, she started building her new nest right in the cozy coils of the rubber snake, probably chortling at me all the while, chirping under her breath in immense satisfaction.
I removed her nest once again, and I offered up yet another birdhouse, specifically for wrens, hanging right beside the plant she was destroying. A most reasonable peace offering, no?
Forget it. The damn bird steadfastly ignored this third birdhouse and contented herself with once again digging around in my flower pot, etching out her home-sweet-home for the millionth time.
For the millionth time, I removed her rotten, cotton-picking nest, and I gathered up enough sticks to start a bonfire, poking them into the dirt of my plant, criss-crossing them to make it nearly impossible for even a tiny, cantankerous, and hard-headed bird to get into the pot.
This time, I was victorious! This time, even though sticks were obviously nudged about and disturbed, she ultimately couldn’t get into the plant. This time, there was no nest! HA! I win, you stupid, bird-brained, ornery, feathered piece of…
Wait! What is that?
I turned around, having caught sight of something suspicious in the large potted philodendron in the corner of the porch. I leaned over to get a better look.
Are you serious? Tucked safely beneath a large leaf, where I could barely see it, was a tightly-built, small bird’s nest…with four eggs inside.
I sighed and admitted defeat. Well played, annoying little bird with a head of concrete. I was so busy focusing on the hanging plant and exulting in my victory that I never noticed you sneaking the nest into the other plant, a plant you seemingly paid no attention to before now.
I may be a jerk sometimes (rarely, of course), but even I wouldn’t tear out the nest once eggs were in it. I even bought some dried meal worms and left them near the plant, so she doesn’t have to venture far to find a quick meal.
Over the weekend, I surreptitiously checked the nest while watering the plants, expecting to see the usual little brown feathered face peeking back at me, probably still gloating over winning this epic battle. Instead, four tiny beaks opened up and begged for food as soon as they sensed me nearby.
I got so excited, I nearly dropped the watering can. I dashed through the house to announce breathlessly to Gary, “The baby birds have hatched!”
Were Gary’s first words about this blessed event something sweet, joyous, celebratory? Nope. He cast a stern glance my way and warned, “Leave those birds alone.”
What? Me? Well, okay, yes, it was tempting to start feeding the baby birds and sing them songs and maybe read them a story or two. Who wouldn’t? I know better than to handle baby birds, though, or to make the mother bird jittery by hanging around like a Peeping Tom, gawking into her hard-won nest. I made sure the pile of appetizing meal worms was refreshed, and then I left them alone. I swear.
I still can’t believe I was outsmarted by a bird with a brain no larger than a pebble. Well, I have news for her. At the very least, I’m going to get baby pictures before they fly the nest!