Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hot Property: Bird Fights and Bumblebees

I listed a property the other day.

I razed a wreck full of miscreant thugs and I put the ugliest looking house in its place overlooking my property. I waited for the right moment when the thugs were sleeping or dazed, and I wrenched their dwelling down and replace it with a homemade ramshackle birdhouse.

Edwin said weeks ago after I built the birdhouse, 'It's a little late for birds to use it. Really should go up in March.'

The Ugliest Birdhouse in the World

Learning that, I didn't secure the house to the post. I just balanced it on top.

This morning shortly after sunrise, movement catches my eye. A bird? I turn to see a small bird moving from the house to the forsythia bushes. Back and forth.


I watch enthralled. I made a perch from a maple stick. The bird uses it. I drilled a hole for the entrance. The bird passes through in and out. I made a ventilation opening at the top, the bird uses that, too.


A breeze kicks up. The birdhouse sways.


I should have secured it.

The bird flies inside the house. It wobbles. The bird emerges and preens on the roof, chirping. It is though he announces to the world: 'This is my property. Mine! You got it all you dumb birds, bees, ants, and whatever else might get some ill-fated ideas about moving in. M, I, N, E; mine!'

He flies off, the birdhouse wobbles. It could fall over!

Double nuts!

The bird flies back and forth carrying a new stick or twig with each pass.

Later around mid-day, I see other birds, bigger birds patrolling around my newly listed property. The little bird repeats his vocal performance but immediately flies off as the blue-backed birds swoop in.

Ah, I know what this is! It's an inspection! The blue-backed bird sit on the perch and peers in through the hole.

'Nuts.' I think to myself. 'I have to do something about the wobble.'

My attention changes to other tasks around the house.

If I were feeling better, I would be building a brooder for chicks, but instead I use hammer and chisel to remove a concrete block thing that my cousin built years before. The chisel isn't working. I need more.

I go inside the house to get the solid-metal, triangular splitting maul.


The cement block cracks in its mortar.


I see something and think of a soccer statement of all things, 'Bumblebees can't fly. They can't fly! But look at that slow kid moving his way through everyone again and again, scoring, scoring! Bumblebees can't fly!'

My knowlege of things apiary must lack, cause I swear that there's a bumblebee flying angry around me.

I ignore it.


The heavy bee flies by again.


My eyes narrow in a battle of wills with this winged patroller. 'Fine.' I think. 'Have what you want.'

The bumblebee calms down and hovers where I stood and finally lands, nestling in the grass.

Nuts! I stood on the entrance to its hive!

This isn't going well, so I stand up on the concrete blocks and resume my ruination.


The bee hovers angry.

Crack! A block falls to the ground. Thump.

The bee lunges at me so I retreat over the rubble.

'Fine.' I think. 'I'll do something else.'

I walk to the shed to get the longest nails I can find and walk to the new birdhouse. I see a yellow and black striped wasp on the birdhouse roof. I knock it off with the hammer.

'Dang.' I think to myself. 'These are the wasps that took over the last birdhouse here. Who wins?' I wonder. 'The birds or the wasps?'

I hammer two long nails through the platform into the post.

'That should do it.'

I try not to touch the platform, but I test it.

It feels secure.

Eventually I work on my garden, planting and watering it. I shut the water off next to a blueberry bush in bloom and his brother, another stinking bumblebee buzzes me!

'Ok, ok. This is enough.' I retreat quickly running a little towards my uncle's house to talk with him in the garden.

I approach already forgotten the bees at my house, 'Guess what is sprouting in my lower garden?'

He shrugs.

'Beans. You keep telling me that the soil is too cold, but I surely have beans sprouting down there.'

We talk.

Eventually I hear an angry argument over my new property. The little bird again stakes his claim. Blue-back birds fly around. Back and forth.

I tell the birdhouse story to my uncle and I ask, 'Who wins between the wasps and the birds?'

'I don't know how they figure that out.' He shrugs.

He continues to tell me that the male house wren will make a variety of nests for the female to choose one. And that he doesn't see bluebirds in his birdhouses, but my cousin who preceded me here did.

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