Tenants’ Revenge

The old place really needed painting and last week we shaved off its mustache AND its beard –  picture doing that to the Amish man! – with the result that certain somebodies are now unhappy. (The story of the tea-cozy of ivy hugging our house until now is here on yesterday’s post with Before and After pictures available here and here for the too-busy-to-go-back.)

Who are these angry somebodies?  Who but the local bird population. They have relied on us for years and, come to think of it, they’ve grown even feistier since that addictive little app started appearing on people’s phones. Did they hear about Angry Birds® somehow and decide to start throwing their weight around? 

Maybe so: The summer before last a pair of mourning doves took up residency on the windowsill of my second floor office, and, nicely hidden by the fringe of ivy, copulated, brought forth babies fed the babies taught them to fly, then did the whole thing again six weeks later. It was charming until the gathered mix of grasses and guano began piling six inches into the air.

Then, this past summer, a mother sparrow decided to build make her nest in our front porch light. We almost burned the place down before we realized she had stuffed it with enough straw to stuff a loveseat: all we had to do was flip the switch on. Plus once the eggs appeared we could’ve had omelets.

Once they’d used up their maternity leave and gone back to their jobs we removed all traces of their nests – which didn’t mean other birds weren’t also nesting inside the ivy; they were. Every summer for years I would watch them swooping in and out of this rustling curtain of leaves just next to my office laptop. It’s a wonder they weren’t asking to pop inside and check their email.

These last days though, with the ivy stripped off, all was silent – until just a  few hours ago anyway when I heard a hard and rhythmical tapping. It didn’t bother me. In fact it made me smile as it called to mind that time our 20-month-old dressed in nothing but a diaper, toddled to my brand new car and began laying a little line of dents along its perfect flank with a ball-peen hammer he had somehow come upon.

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap, Tap-tap-tap.

‘ I wonder what THAT is.” I thought dreamily, tapping away myself on my keyboard, Then then suddenly dreaminess vanished and I KNEW: it was a woodpecker who, flying by, noted these bare and brand-new shingles and decided to do a little writing of his own.