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For the second year in a row, a couple of blackbirds have built their nest in the gutter just outside my bedroom. (Disclaimer: I don’t know if they are actually blackbirds. I just know they are black birds. I tried to look up what kind of big, aggressive nincompoops like to build nests in gutters but the search engine fairy failed me.) We built a sunroom onto our house a few years ago creating an L-shape with our bedroom. Apparently, the resulting corner gutter is prime real estate. As I sit in my room, I hear birds fighting for this property. I can imagine every awkward movement of their large wings in such a confined space. They squawk and snap at each other. It is in all respects ANNOYING. If it’s true what the naturalist John James Audubon said that “hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance seldom reached by the best of guns,” then these not-so-shy birds are the exact opposite of hope—misery maybe. And the gun thing is questionable. Being a pacifist and non-gun owner, I’m surprised by my growing desire to see their birdy bodies riddled with bullets, feathers floating slowly to the ground after the smoke clears…I digress. On days when I want to sit and write in this private sanctuary of my bedroom, I’m frustrated by the constant noise. “Cut it out, you morons!” I shout at them. “There are about forty trees within seconds of here! Why did you build your stupid nest in my gutter?!” For some reason, my yelling doesn’t make a difference. Perhaps they don’t know English. I’ve even resorted to sitting on the floor by the door to the patio with my laptop in front of me trying to get something done. Every time I hear them clattering around, I open and shut the door quickly to send them flying to the nearby pine trees only to hear them return in a few minutes. (Another disclaimer: Seeing as how this is the second year of this nesting, we would have been smart to place some sort of deterrent in the gutter during the off season. My husband Brent and I discussed this plan of action: What kind of material should we use? Who will stand on the ladder and who will hold a broom to swat away possible attack birds? Unfortunately we never got past the “planning” stage. I’m definitely regretting my laziness now since it’s illegal to remove bird nests that are being actively used unless they are home to an invasive species like house sparrows or European starlings. I’m not sure if these black birds are officially registered as invasive but they have certainly invaded my gutter.) If this year turns out to be like last year, another sound will soon be added to the thrashing and squawking. Soon I’ll hear the cheeping of baby birds and a new emotional conflict will plague my soul. Instead of just being annoyed by the pesky adult birds, I’ll succumb to my maternal feelings of cherishing anything newborn, even if it cries a lot. And this is all by design. The birds nest by design so that their eggs will have a safe place to hatch. No one teaches them what materials to gather or how to scout for possible locations but they do it every year. By design, mothers are compelled to love the fragile and tiny so that they will nurture and care for those too weak to care for themselves. I’m designed to see even the annoying aspects of nature around me so that I can be in awe of our Creator. Although I’d love for them to leave, I’m grateful for these stupid birds. I’m grateful to live in a place where I can witness wildlife—even if it’s just a squirrel drinking from a puddle in the middle of our pool cover or an over-sized groundhog pushing an imaginary friend in our porch swing (yes, that actually happened). Life and living things are a blessing and if I have to be reminded of them by squawking then that may be by design, too.



Birds of a feather…should flock somewhere else

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