Saturday, March 22, 2014
Bluebird Housecleaning And Eviction Service
This morning there were robins all over the grass that is now uncovered by the snow. More thrilling than that, I noticed two birds perched on a cage and a post in the garden. I thought they looked like bluebirds so I got my binoculars to check. Not only were they bluebirds, but they were a male and a female. Time for procrastination is over. The bluebird boxes needed to be cleaned out today. After lunch Ed headed out with two buckets, one for the contents of the houses and the other with the necessary tools to make repairs to the houses if needed. I tagged along with the camera. Sometimes we clean the boxes out in the fall. The two in the garden down by the road were still empty and ready for use. The rest of our 15 nest boxes were anything but empty. Bluebird nests are made of grasses, tree swallow nests are sticks and feathers, chickadees use moss, wrens fill the nest box to the top with sticks. White fluffy stuff is chewed up pieces of milkweed and it means just one thing....MICE!
"Don't look at me like that with those black eyes or wiggle your whiskers and cute little pink nose. This is a bluebird house and you have got to go." Of course I talk big, but furry little critters make me go EEEK! It is Ed's job to actually evict them from the houses. He deftly flicks the sticks and fluff into the bucket and whisks the mice onto the ground. They scurry off into the tall grass in a hurry. I don't ever remember a year when there were mice in almost all of the boxes. This year some of the boxes were filled with fluff and had two or three mice. One could hardly expect the bluebirds to select a house under those conditions. Now all the boxes are empty of old nests and mice. One house in particular smelled way too much like mice to my nose. I hope it will air out. Certainly today's sunshine and brisk breeze should help. While we were working a pair of red tail hawks circled overhead. It's great to have them back. We invited them to catch as many mice as they could find. Moles, voles and rabbits are on the welcome back menu as well!
In the bed down by the road the icy snow is finally retreating. Lemon thyme and my King Alfred daffodils are now making a welcome appearance.
Tiny tips of my Dutch iris are now pushing up through the mulch. Beautiful flowers won't be far behind. The garden is still slightly chilled, but Spring is here !