Of Birds & Squirrels

This is the third year in a row the wrens have attempted to nest in my barbecue just when cookout season begins. The last two years I physically relocated the nests onto the porch. They accepted the new location and continued raising their families. This year they hadn’t gotten very far along so I simply opened the lid and left it open, demonstrating that it wasn’t a good nesting location. They voluntarily made an old washtub on the porch their secondary choice. No eggs yet.



The bluebirds are much further along in a concrete birdhouse* I made many years ago.

*Optical illusion: The joints in the brickwork are concave, but depending how you look at it they appear convex.





The concrete bluebird house out by the road has only two eggs so far.




The one by the side of the house remains vacant.



Squirrels are always a problem in the garden this time of year because of their penchant to dig. They can’t remember where they buried their acorns, hickory nuts and pecans so they dig where the digging is easiest, in my newly planted beds where the soil is soft and moist. I have some choice names for the squirrels. The one used most often has roughly the same meaning as, “Posterior Orifices.”

It is a yearly battle to keep the squirrels from digging up my seedlings. So far this year damage has been minimal. I sprinkle black pepper around and amongst all my plantings,   and that seems to work, but they often get a little dig in before they decide it is too uncomfortable. This year I am hanging flash tape in all the planted areas, and so far it has worked.



This may be the year I won’t be bothered so much by squirrels. The little posterior orifices now have something to worry about besides me, and I do get mean when I am upset. I was planting turmeric yesterday and a couple of hawks started screeching and making a big commotion. One of them landed near me in a tree. I thought, “hmmm… that could be mating behavior. I wonder if they will nest around here.”




Sure enough, this morning I was outside planting more seed trays and noticed a hawk tugging on a small branch of dead leaves then fly with it up to a nest it was building high in a tree. Then it flew down for more nesting material.

The nest is on the neighbor’s property, but from that vantage point the hawks can surveil most of mine. I certainly wish the bluebirds and wrens well, and even the green snake. The squirrels…? Well, I guess I wish them well too… sort of.

All birds of prey are protected by law with stiff penalties for interfering with or killing them, so all I can do is observe as nature take its course.




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