New home construction
Thursday April 03rd 2008, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Life,Non-Knitting

wool fluffs for nesting season“But, officer, it was really just way too big a stick for her, I was afraid she was going to trip and break her beak and then where would her babies be, I was just helping her out, honest…”

I put some wool roving out on the back patio a few weeks ago in anticipation of nesting season and waited. It stayed there. I thought that perhaps the dyed wool of previous years had been snatched up sooner (or was I trying too early), that maybe the red caught their attention better–I wondered, are birds colorblind?

Today I sat down to my emails and found myself being constantly distracted by jays and doves and shadows of who-knows-what flying sideways over and over across my vision; there are floor-to-ceiling windows to two sides in this room and a translucent awning on the patio just outside. And then suddenly I realized: the wool is gone.

I stopped and watched a mourning dove struggling with a stick that looked so big I didn’t see how she could possibly lift it, much less use it in a nest. But she wanted that one. She tried again and again, stubbing the end of it on the ground, not quite getting it balanced in her beak, not being able to simply open her wings yet and take off with it, not being willing to let it go despite the abundance of tiny twigs under that olive tree.

Then a large and brilliantly blue jay flew right in front of her, squawked loudly with its wings wide open, and rushed her. If that mousy little gray thing wants that one so bad it must be the best one in the yard. Mine. The dove spat out the stick, scuttling away fast. The bossy jay grabbed it in triumph and flew gleefully in the opposite direction. See? Not too heavy. Piece of cake. Mine.

Jay, honey, you are going to have fun when your kids are teenagers, with that kind of example to grow up by.

I went looking, then, and found some samples of carded wool so old that the sheep they’d come from had probably died of natural causes by now. I opened the little packages and pulled each one out. Sheep 101–now there’s a poetic name. 102, 103, …109. I pulled the almost-felted-by-now cottonballs of cotswald and romney and merino into fluffy bits and put them out on the patio.

The mourning dove watched me and who’d. Alright, bird. I hear you. I went back outside and moved some of the fluffs over to where that stick had been, safely further away from where the resident human perches.

So far she hasn’t come to it. But the jay did. It flew down away from the wool, *picked up a stick in its beak, dropped it, hopped closer, picked up another, repeat from * till length of time desired. It hopped to just shy of the wool, finally, considered a moment–what the heck was a herd of moorit and albino gophers doing here?–turned its head away, grabbed a tiny stick, and flew back off to the left like the first time.

Since I started typing this, I’ve seen two jays fly at it and consider it. Almost ready for it.

I’ll get you, my pretties, and your little friends too.

p.s. Lene, your amaryllis’s second bud just opened up. Here’s today’s shot of it. Happy spring!

Lene’s amaryllis blooms again

5 Comments so far
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A pox upon me! You, Poppinjay! – Shakespeare

Love the amarylly! 🙂
And good for you helpin’ the birds knit! 😉

Comment by Toni 04.03.08 @ 6:55 pm

Those jays are very territorial, not to mention ambitious. When I was a kid, my mom would put out birdseed, and occasionally burnt toast and the like. One day she tossed a superfluous pancake. (About 4″ in diameter.) And a jay came down *picked it up* and flew off with it. Not without difficulty! He could barely get a foot and a half off the ground and you could almost hear his wings creaking. But he managed to get it off by himself for his sole enjoyment.

Nowadays, we throw birdseed on the porch, and the birds, squirrels and chipmunks all come by and squabble over it. (This is to entertain the cat, who isn’t allowed out, but finds the view riveting.)

Comment by RobinH 04.04.08 @ 6:18 am

“moorit and albino gophers”
LOL I no longer have a good view out to my back garden (the room with the view is inaccessible for a few reasons) but I’m looking forward to warm spring mornings sitting out back and watching the show. I keep my scraps of yarn ties from skeins like malabrigo to put out. It makes colorful trees all year round if you look closely.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 04.04.08 @ 8:14 am

Blue jays are cheeky gits, aren’t they? My mom had a peach tree in the backyard that she defended from the jays. She put nets over the tree, she swiped at the birds with a broom. They would hop away to just out of arms reach and squawk at her. Or maybe laugh?

Comment by Carol 04.04.08 @ 8:38 am

Ah, Bluejays. We have a huge male Blue that likes to hang out in our yard- which is ill-advised, since Niki is a bird-hunter.

Since Niki likes to eat al fresco, he’ll take pieces of the big kibble outside and leave them on the patio for when he’s ready to eat them. Blue will swoop down after Niki has come back inside, and take off with the high-protein-high-fat dental dog food.

Andrew thinks that Niki is purposely fattening up the Bluejay. You know, I don’t think Blue’s feathers have ever looked shinier!

Comment by Jasmin 04.04.08 @ 9:54 am

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