We have big pillars holding up the front porch of our house, painted a lovely cream color. Each spring, we’ve battled the birds who recognize them for what they are (in the avian world) – nesting shelves.
The first year was the worst. The swallows came in several house-hunting couples and smeared mud splashes all over the columns as they threw together their compact little cups of mud and grass. Every day we went out to wash down the mess and clear out the nests that went together amazingly quickly. I finally cut little triangles of heavy cardboard to make the corners of the columns harder to settle into. These worked to some degree but tend to blow away in a storm.
The swallows got the message after the first year, but then the house finches discovered the vacant territory. Their nests are much neater although they are not very attractive to see from the house. I have come to a truce at this point with the young families. I can put up with a month of mess on the porch while they raise their babies and then clean it out when they are done. I’ll admit it is interesting to monitor the progress and hear the little ones cheeping for their breakfast.
Today, I started out the afternoon with a long list of outside chores and at the top of the list was to clean out the old nests. I got up on a ladder and tapped a nest to see if there was anyone left in there. No sound. So I began to lift the nest out and suddenly little birdies began to rain down on my head. Oops. I found three of them and gently laid them back in the nest, but one hopped right back up and flew down into the bushes. I guess that means they were just about ready to go anyway so I don’t feel so bad.
The robin in the nest in the honeysuckle by the back door is very clear about warning me away every time I come out, so you can be sure I won’t make the same mistake with her. This will only last another week or so, and I can wait.