Archive for the ‘Yellow Warblers’ Category

Robins, Warblers … Part 2

July 13, 2016

So I thought I was done telling this warbler story, you know, those little yellow birds, quite cute actually, flitting around right at our front door, leaving droppings on the stoop and making a huge mess.

When David, Megan and I were first discussing how to deal with the warblers, we decided an owl might scare them off. But where, pray tell, do you find an owl? Download an owl photo off the internet? Print it out and tape it to the front door? I had considered that option.

Then David scrounged up Herbert, our life-like wooden jointed cobra snake, from the basement. He set him out there right against the front door and, sure enough, Herbert has done the job.

Herbert, admiring his reflection

Herbert, admiring his reflection

The birds quit their ‘peck-peck-pecking’ out front but are still regularly spotted in the back yard.

Except, it’s been unnerving opening the door to Herbert, having him out there 24/7. He constantly startles us; we’re just never quite prepared for the sight of him.

Then there’s this problem of people stopping by. This past Sunday I spotted an old friend charging up our walk to the front door. I wanted to stop her, warn her about Herbert, but she backed off the step with a start and inquired about the snake as soon as I opened the door.


I’m just not keen on having to calm visitors and explaining the ‘snake-vs-pooping warblers’ situation to everyone who knocks on our front door. We really have to come up with another way to scare off the birds.

Enter, uh, the Universe, I guess. Because later Sunday afternoon Megan and I decided to park by the Snake River in Idaho Falls and walk the greenbelt. I swerved toward the curb into this parking space in the shade. Noticed a small stuffed animal sitting along the curb there, but what’s the harm in running it over, I want this spot!

We climb out and Megan looks under the car, hey, mom look! It’s a little baby owl! Seriously. We retrieve it and I suggest we leave it in the grass in case whoever lost it comes back looking for it. No. Says Megan. We can use it to scare the warblers! Oh! You’re right Megan! It was in great shape other than a few tire marks and, well, it’s eyes were a bit scratched up:

Maybe Winslow can do the job!

Maybe Winslow can do the job!

First thing yesterday morning Megan made sure we relieved Herbert of his duties.

"Herbert has to go, mom"

“Herbert has to go, mom”

Although Herbert’s done a good job it was just too creepy making eye contact with him every time we opened the front door. Enter: Winslow

Winslow's scratched up eyes make her spookier!

Winslow’s scratched up eyes make her spookier!

Herbert’s a gentle snake, though

What to do with Herbert?

What to do with Herbert?

It just seemed a travesty to exile him back into his dank corner in the basement. Let’s let him loose to explore the house a bit…

Oh boy, he’s in the poinsettias!

Master of disguise

Master of disguise

Better keep an eye on him, he’s wily. Where’d he go?



Herbert meets spider.

Herbert makes a friend

Herbert makes a friend

Spider has been living in the potpourri ever since last Halloween when he escaped the box. I blogged about spider here, our new permanent house guest who’s taken up residence in the downstairs bath.

Oh boy, Herbert’s headed up the stairs… Man he moves fast!


Straight to Megan’s bedroom. No Herbert, it’s not gonna fly, you posing as one of Megan’s stuffed animals

Bedtime disaster

Bedtime disaster

Herbert makes another friend. He has big dreams

Herbert finds a mate

Herbert finds a mate

No, Herbert, you are not falling in love and starting a family. And certainly not up in Megan’s bedroom!

Herbert needs a purpose. We could give him a new assignment. OUTSIDE. I know! He’s great at scaring off the birds, let’s see if he can keep the birds from eating the tomatoes!

Herbert finds a new calling

Herbert finds a new calling

There. He looks happy now.

As for Winslow, she’s been on her watch for 24 hours. It’s a kinder, gentler creature now that greets you at the front door.

Winslow saves the day

Winslow saves the day

And we aren’t startled opening the front door…


No more explaining to frightened visitors.

Of course, now we’re on high alert for that ‘peck-peck-pecking’ sound. When do yellow warblers migrate south for the winter?

Robins, Warblers and ‘Herbert’

July 9, 2016

Two summers ago, in 2014, we had robins nesting in a honey locust tree in our back yard. I took lots of video on August 3, 2014, the day the hatchlings fledged, and blogged about it. Here is a link to the blogs.

This summer the robins are back! Nesting in the same place. I was out in the back yard on June 26 and witnessed robins building a nest, in the exact same location, at the intersection of two low hanging limbs. I shot a couple of videos:

The female chooses the site and builds the nest, while the male might help gather nesting materials (depending on his mood?).

Or lead the female to a resting place when he sees she needs a break …

Who's got the beer?

Who’s got the beer?

A new nest is built for each brood, and in northern climes the first clutch is usually placed in an evergreen tree or shrub, while later broods are placed in deciduous trees (this must be this family’s second clutch?). It takes from two to six days to build the nest, with an average of 180 trips per day to find materials.

Building a nest is a lot of work!

Meanwhile, a cutesy chatty pair of yellow birds shows up. I think we just have one pair of these, but they surely have made their presence known. At first we’re like, “Oh, cute!’ when one would flutter up against our back kitchen window. Then flutter up there again, lingering, as if admiring it’s reflection. Then over the course of a day or two the window gets all mucked up – the birds were fluttering, lingering, and then apparently puking on the outside of our kitchen window. It became creepy and Megan started banging on the window to scare them away. I was out there with windex scrubbing off the mess.

Then we were hearing this ‘peck-peck-peck-ing’ on our front door starting first thing early morning. It was creepy too. One of those dumb yellow birds again! I’d quick!, open the front door, but of course, it was gone. Now the birds were fluttering, pecking, puking and pooping – right at our front door.

I went out there with a bucket of soapy water and scrub brush and scrubbed it off. But then within a day or two it was a mess again. Here – I took a photo:



The little yellow birds were standing on our doorstep admiring themselves in the reflective kick plate, pooping and regurgitating on their reflection. Hey, whatever floats your boat, birdies. Noooooo! We had to do something.

I was constantly complaining to David about it – “Look, honey, there goes one of those yellow birds!” as it flits past the front window.

A while later I notice our vegetable scrub brush quarantined in a glass by the sink:


“What’s this doing here?” I ask David.

“Oh, I used that brush to scrub the bird poop off the front stoop…”

“Ewwww! I scrub potatoes and carrots with that brush!”

“Yeah, well thought I’d help you deal with the bird problem …”

I walk to the front door and open it. Ahhhh! You’re kidding!



“The snake just might scare the birds away,” says David.

He had brought that wooden jointed cobra snake we bought in Mexico about 8 years ago, up from the basement.

It startles us every time we open the front door.

Hi again

Hi again

As for those yellow birds, I did finally capture a couple of photos of them. At the back sliding door, since that snake did scare them away from the front door:



My sister Lisa, an avid bird watcher, identified them. ‘Yellow Warblers‘. I did a Google search on Warbler behaviors and couldn’t come up with anything remotely matching our experience. It’s simply ‘be as annoying as possible to the Caraher’s’ behavior.

As for the robins, David captured a photo of her yesterday – roosting on the nest.

July 8, 2016

July 8, 2016

You guessed it. The female sits on the eggs too. (While the male checks out the local bird baths? I dunno…) The eggs hatch after 14 days, and the chicks leave the nest, fledge, two weeks later. While the chicks are still young, the mother broods them continuously. When they are older, the mother will brood them only at night or during bad weather. (You know, out of sheer exhaustion.)

As for the front door situation with the warblers, ‘Herbert’ seems to have solved the problem. I pulled into the driveway the other day to witness a neighbor backing away from our front door. She had come over with her granddaughter to deliver some cupcakes and I heard her say “Honey, I don’t think it’s alive.” Luckily I was able to explain the situation as to why we have a life-like cobra roosting on our front doorstep.


I guess I should consider us lucky that we still have mail delivery. Although we haven’t received any UPS packages recently.

Overall, we’re one bigger happier family with the robins, warblers, Herbert and all. Although Herbert still startles me when I open the front door.

I'm your Huckleberry

I’m your Huckleberry

He’s pretty much going to stay there as long as those warblers are around. I’d like to preserve our vegetable brush for scrubbing vegetables.