Fussy Birds!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is STICKLER

I was wandering around the yard yesterday and thinking it’s time to get the bird houses cleaned up and hung in the trees again. As most bird-lovers know, birds can be very particular about their nests when it comes to size and location. Three years ago I downloaded plans for a “proper” tree swallow nest box and had a friend build two. I don’t know why, but our tree swallows have shunned them all this time. They check the place out, but they won’t nest there. Sigh.

Birds are fussy about neighbours, too. The feisty little wren chases off all its neighbours. They pick their own place, then fill all other potential nests around them with sticks so no other birds can use them.

In this poem Edgar Guest tells us what sticklers the martins are.

The Martins

The Martins are peculiar and whimsical at best:
they’re very charming tenants if with you they choose to nest,
but though the house you build for them may perfect seem to be,
you cannot coax them into it if something wrong they see.

I do not know precisely what the Martins ask from men;
I only know they like a house with rooms for eight or ten
and it must stand above the ground full fourteen feet or more
with unimpeded space about for them to wheel and soar.

The neighborhood must suit their choice; the gardens must be neat,
nor will they stay to raise their young along a noisy street.
And many a man has built a house their fellowship to win,
which, for some cause to him unknown, they would not enter in.

The scouts come on in early spring to look the houses o’er
and if they do not like the place you’ll see their charms no more,
but should your home their fancies suit, within a day or two
the Martins will arrive to spend the summertime with you.

From his book Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

4 thoughts on “Fussy Birds!

  1. We had a Martin “condo” in our yard when I was young, and it was used every year by the families of birds. One autumn, dad took the fronts (with the holes) off to clear out the old nests, thinking he would replace the boards in the spring. Before he had a chance to do this, some Robins nested in a couple of the cubicles on one side, but the martins weren’t dissuaded, and did build on the other side. After that summer, dad made sure he replaced the fronts right after fall cleaning the bird house.

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