Beset By Spring … or… Be Careful What You Wish For

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I have been wishing and waiting for (as well as whining about) the arrival of spring for months.

I’ve written about it here and here .

And now, finally, I think we can safely say that spring has arrived. But I don’t mean that it’s lovely and warm outside or that I’ve been able to wear spring fashions, at least not without warm layers underneath  (I really, REALLY want to wear my white jeans) … I mean that we are now beset by hordes of  birds… birds of all shapes, sounds and sizes!  And I DO mean beset! As in troubled, plagued, harangued, harried…I could go on.

For instance…

This little guy, below, is a flicker. He’s perched on the metal cap of our chimney. He demonstrates his potential relationship prowess and his desirability as a mate to the lady-flickers of Manotick by “drumming,” which means banging his beak very quickly on that metal cap.

See? … in the picture he’s looking around to see how many girls he’s impressed. The sound reverberates around the neighborhood. From outside it sounds charming. “Oh, those birds, they are cute aren’t they?”

But from inside the house… well,  the noise reverberates down the chimney, echoes off the brass trim on our fireplace insert and thence vibrates its way clear down to the furnace pipes in the basement. No potential mates there. Only me doing the laundry and jumping every time I hear the bbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….and upstairs my husband turning up the sound on the hockey game he’s watching. (It’s playoff season…Stanley Cup time…aka hockey 24/7 in our house.)

Now it’s not as if I don’t like spring. I love spring. Or birds. I love…..well, I cannot tell a lie… I have had a rather fraught relationship with birds ever since I was little.

I don’t hate birds … exactly. I’m just kind of terrified of them…sometimes. Like these two behemoths we met when we were in Australia a few years ago.

My husband wanted a picture of me in front of them. So I inched ever so cautiously closer and closer to the fence… “More to the left, Suz. Hurry up before they move away. Come ON…they’re not going to hurt you.” … and he snapped the picture. And here I am, captured in what he calls my get-away stance.

This guy below has caused me many uncomfortable moments over the years.  He’s a grackle. They can be very territorial especially when nesting. Especially when the nest is in the huge cedar that’s a foot from where I park my car in the driveway. He/she used to dive bomb me every morning when I was on  my way to work. So I resorted to carrying my squash racket. Yep. I’d carry my purse, briefcase, and lunch in one hand and the squash racket in the other, flailing about with it and trying to look formidable. Thank goodness we live at the end of the street, on the river….so no neighbours to witness my performance. I mean, I didn’t want to hit him….just warn him off. Look at him….don’t tell me that those beady eyes aren’t fierce looking.

And for annoying and scary you can’t beat the venerable Canada goose. Long a harbinger of approaching spring or fall, the great V-shaped masses of them in the sky are kind of iconic and breathtaking.

They’ve begun to migrate through our area this spring. Remember, we live on the river. Not far from large corn fields. With lots of stubble for hordes of Canada geese to feed on. After, they like to spend the night on the river  And that means more geese than you can shake a stick at. Right in front of our house. Sigh.

At dusk they fly in, wave after wave of them. It’s beautiful to watch them circle and land, skidding into the water. But some evenings, the noise is deafening.

And then they nest somewhere on the bank …and soon you see this. So cute….. for awhile.
Because if they decide they like your front lawn and you can’t discourage them…after a year or two you’ll see this.
And be careful. They are short tempered. Try to scare them off and you might see this. Oh yeah…geese..not on my list of favourite things.

But not all birds are annoying or scary. I love robins. We have a ton of them in our back yard. I love their chirpy song in the morning. Hubby is not too enamored of the one that sings loudly every morning at precisely 5:16 AM. Hubby’s a light sleeper. Me… I hear it, smile and am snoring again in seconds. Which is probably just as annoying to him.

There are lots of other birds around this time of year as well. Cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees etc etc. Most of them are doing this …

Hopefully leading to this

And this.  Baby robins are soooo cute. This guy looks a little like Winston Churchill, don’t you think?

But all that attracting, mating, and nest building makes for a lot of air traffic. Our clothes line seems to be right in the middle of a major flight path. And just when I’ve hung a load of washing out on the line for the first time this year… expecting that later I will reel in towels that smell of the fresh outdoors… a flock of birds fly over. The phrase “bombs away” comes to mind. Well, you get the idea. I mean, seriously, even the birds I like seem to be out to get me.

So….I don’t hate birds…well, not all birds. It’s just that they have been the vehicle of more embarrassing moments for me than I can count. I’ve hit the deck (so to speak) all over the world when I have imagined that a bird flying by is somehow going to lose its bearings and hit me. Cobblestones, sidewalks, piers…I’ve examined them all in minute detail as I try to decide how I can get back to my feet with at least a shred of dignity. It’s just instinctive for me. And before you ask… no, I have never seen the Alfred Hitchcock film.

Yes, spring has sprung. I wished and wished for it to come. Longed for it. Pined for it, even. As have most of us this year. It’s been a long, cold and snowy winter.

But some small part of me wishes it didn’t have to come with quite so many birds!

I guess I should be careful what I wish for. So I’m just going to wish for …tulips…and daffodils. And hope that I can haul the white jeans out soon. I just need to remember to NOT hang them on the clothesline!
Does spring have any downsides for you? Any bird phobics in your house?

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