Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Bluebird Of Angst

Meet Floyd.

Actually, this is not Floyd, unless the person who took this photo that I've pilfered off flickr is in the habit of stealing into our yard and snapping shots of random birds. But it could be Floyd. Or Brother of Floyd.

For the purpose of our story, let's pretend it is, indeed, Floyd.

See, there seems to be something 'off' about Floyd.

Floyd is the male tenant of a birdhouse in our back yard.

Pictures for you

It seems to be prime real estate, despite it's rather dilapidated appearance, as each spring the Eastern Bluebirds hold a jousting tournament to see which couple gets the place for the summer. We watch the doings off our balcony. It's loud and swoopy and very colorful.

A couple of months ago, Floyd and his bride won this year's House Joust and moved in, seemingly satisfied.

About 2 weeks ago, we began noticing that a male Eastern Bluebird began hanging around the windows of the back of our house. By hanging, I mean he was frequently there, either on the deck railing or literally hanging from the window screen, occasionally relieving himself down the surface of the screen, peering in to the rooms with his right eye, head turned left, as you see above. He'd fly away if we got right up to the window. He was impossible to miss. Felt like being watched by Big Brother.

Shortly afterward, he apparently tired of surveillance, making more direct assaults on the house. Specifically, he'd sit on, say, the railing of the tiny balcony off our bedroom and launch himself at the glass, hitting it with his beak, sharply, making an insistent tap-tap-tap (on a good approach, he could manage to whack the window up to 4 times before having to veer away to keep his body airborne). He'd circle around and do it again. And again. And a-fuckin-gain. When tiring of this, he'd go to another back window and repeat. He'd start at dawn (which is around 5 am-ish), suspending his activities when he sensed we were up and moving.

Let me tell you, this is somewhat amusing when one has to rise at 5am, but when one doesn't, it's beyond annoying. Like someone having left a very loud faucet dripping. A faucet that only stops dripping when you get up out of your comfortable bed.

Or if you sit in wait with your camera, as I could be found doing several times over the past couple of weeks. (Oh, yes. I've been sitting in wait with my camera, at dawn, just for you-all.) He'd wake me. I'd then sneak to the dresser where I'd stashed the camera, he'd fly off, and I'd sit for a while on the edge of the bed, waiting for him to make another appearance, while he apparently laughed at me from a distance of about 50 m away, showing up as a blue-orange speck on a green tree, against the green grass background. (Again, as the lovely picture above hints at.)

Now, of course, we have been entertaining ourselves about his motives:

1. Is he pissed at us, the landlords, for some problem with the bird house roof or possibly mad that we've not installed indoor plumbing?

2. Does he envy us and want to join the dog-chase-cat-chase-kid fun?

3. Does he envy Charles his home theater and just want to watch "Winged Migration" in high definition with surround sound?

4. Is he threatened by the vacuum? The blender? The bed spread?

5. Is he a deceased relative or close friend re-incarnated as a pretty, boy bird?

6. Does he want to raid the pantry, having tired of a diet of bugs and caterpillars, envying us that particularly tasty granola or the ice cream bars?

7. Has Timmy fallen down a well and, as Lassie seems to be no where to be found, he's trying to act in her place? (Boy, after a couple of weeks, I think I really don't want to find Timmy.)

Anyway, we have been vigilant about keeping the screens closed, not wanting a house full of Floyd. The cat is fascinated and lurks, watching him, daring him to come closer. The dog could care less except when the noise keeps her from her slumbers. I am holding out hope that he is just bored between broods, and that his mate is, as we speak, sitting on a whole new crop of hungry mouths that he will soon have to hop to to feed.

See if he has the energy to bug me, then.

(Ed. note: I wrote this a week ago, and, indeed, suddenly, there seems to be a lack of interest in our doings and Floyd and the missus have been flying in and out of the bird house quite busily. I think the new brood is hatched. Thank God. Now I just need a few good rain storms to wash all the bird crap off the screens. I could get a hose, but that's just too much like work and it's now all hot outside. We don't do work outside in July and August. We sit and think about picking something in garden for dinner and wave at the kids splashing in the slide-y pool.)



Blogger CarpeDM said...

My God, you have the most interesting life. Thug Deer. Big Brother Bird. You almost make me want to move to the country. Almost. There is something to be said for my lovely downtown apartment - you rarely ever get the wake up call from birds. Granted, that could be because they're freaked out by the constant fire truck/ambulance/police sirens.

I think there should be a rule that no one should be required to go outside in July/August until someone creates the personal air conditioning suit. Which I would wear all the damn time. Stupid humidity.

If you were to write a book, I would buy it. And hound you for autographs.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Voyager said...

He wants you to install air conditioning in his rental house of course.

Here July and August is when we head outside and stay there as long as possible, rassing our arms to the sun, drying the mould and moss that has grown on us over the winter. Even when the temperature goes over 30, which it will most of this week.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our new upper deck allows me to peer at the roof up close. The squirrels also love to use it to climb up on the roof and make disturbing noises as I type Piffle-comments. One noisy morning this spring, I went out to evict the miscreant by peering around the roof corner. Much to my chagrin, Squirrel peered back, totally freaking us both into flight. I now pound on the facia below the roof line to preclude recurrence.

The Ole RF-er

1:25 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I do envy your bluebird, they are so beautiful and we don't see them much here.

It has been so steamy hot here too for the last 5 days. I'm hanging out in my husband's office a lot and he must have got tired of seeing me on his tables because he's spent the last 2 nights installing an air-con for the window downstairs! We even have a fan going all night in the summer bedroom. We need rain so badly..just a bit in the last 2 days. Think it's cooling by Thurs. and I can live again.

9:20 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Floyd is clearly a spy. You should beware his offspring- because next year Floyd Jr. will be watching you and reporting your family's activities to Dick Cheney.

I'm sure Cheney has classified the family Piffle as highly suspect- hence the spying bird.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- The country always looks so quiet and innocent but you now know better. I think Eddy needs a bird friend. Yes.

Voyager- The past several days, I wouldn't put it past him to be stumping for the A/C. I do miss the humidity-free Pacific Northwest in the summer. However, the heat and humidity is lovely for the tomatoes, which are now being harvested!

Dad- Yikes. Squirrels are evil. Never trust a squirrel.

Stace- Oh, good lord! You must be right. I'm thinking it's his right eye that is the spy camera. I'm keeping an eye on that nest. Perhaps we should black out our windows?

8:43 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ruth- We suddenly cooled down yesterday evening and it's completely lovely, now (Thursday morning): mid 70s and no humidity for the next several days. I may now have to go work outside. Hope this cool front has found you!

8:46 AM  
Blogger listie said...

I think I might prefer a demented bluebird to our Bob & Fred, the obnoxious crows that delight in waking us up every morning.

At the library we had a male cardinal that would continuously bang into the window. We figured was either after the AC or looking to move into the large tree in the lobby.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, it is much coler today and breezy, thank goodness. Now I know what they mean when they say if tou have heart trouble or respiratory problems to stay out of the heat! I was completely non-functional, flushed, BP up and extremely lethargic.
No results from the MTI but I have to go to a Pulmonary-respiratory test on the same floor on Fri. at 8:00 a.m. so I'm dropping by to ask about results and make a follow-up appointment. That appt won't be until after they get the results of the pulm-resp test are back to her, but I might as well ask about the other two previous tests. Thanks for asking!

1:41 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I love your set of hypotheses re: Floyd's behavior.

I can only imagine that our cat would go out of his mind if we had a bird like Floyd hanging about.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Listie- Yeah, you're right. I'll take taps over caws any day. I love cardinals. We've a few that nest along our road and seem to lie in wait just to fly across everytime we drive along. So pretty.

Ruth- I'm so glad the weather is better. How awful to be so affected by the heat! Hope you get some good news soon. I like your plan about dropping by to see what's what.

Rozanne- I think Floyd would enjoy torturing Rusty. He seems to be that sort of bird.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Sounds like Floyd pretty quickly got control of the household. Nuthin' "off" about that, eh?

But you? You became a bird's plaything.

There's gotta be therapy for that.

(great post)

1:35 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jocelyn- You know, you get used to the smallest members of the family (kids, pets) running the show, but when it's a bloody bird that neither eats at your table nor licks your hand, well, that's just not right!!

5:48 PM  

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