Milo Yield: Birds try to retake summer home from cold-weather pests
April 29, 2016
I mentioned recently that I'd moved my purple martin bird houses to a new, more open location. Of course, the dreaded starlings and pesky English sparrows quickly moved in before the purple martins arrived.
Well, a couple of days ago, a pair of purple martins arrived and I sat on the deck and watched what happened. The martins perched on top of one of the bird houses and I could see they were sizing up the housing situation and discussing how best to proceed.
I overheard the following purple martin conversation:
Mr. PM: "Well, I see the landlords moved our summer house lock, stock and barrel to a new location with a better view of the pond. That was considerate of them."
Mrs. PM: "Yes, but I told you last week we should have left for the Flint Hills of Kansas to get our apartment occupied before the feathered trash moved in. But, 'No-o-o!' you had to stay back in Texas because the mosquitoes were easy pickings. Now look what we've got to deal with!"
Mr. PM: "No problem. We've evicted housing moochers before and we can do it again. I see those bird-brained, noisy, nasty starlings have occupied the upper, left-hand apartment with the best view of the pond and the sunsets and the best breeze. Do you want that apartment or the one downstairs that the irritating, messy sparrows have taken? Keep in mind, it will be in the shade in the hot afternoons and catch the best sunrises."
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Mrs. PM: "Well, I'd much prefer to have the whole complex to ourselves. Then maybe the kids could join us in a few weeks and start their family. I'd have such fun being a grandma bird this summer."
Mr. PM: "I can give it the old college try, but those starlings are a cantankerous, stubborn bunch and they won't move out without a fight. Are you up to it?"
Mrs. PM: "Well, not really. I'm pooped out from all the travel. Let's just evict the sparrows. They're a flighty bunch anyway. At least we'll have the whole bottom floor to ourselves and the kids.
Mr. PM: "Okey, dokey. I'll get right on it. We should be able to start moving in by tomorrow morning."
Another bird story happened to me this week. I wuz tilling my neighbor's large garden and wuz moving right along when out from under my left front tractor wheel flew a mother killdeer who wuz sitting on a nest with four eggs. Sadly, she waited so long to fly that I couldn't keep from running over her nest. I felt badly about that all afternoon.
But, I had a chance to redeem myself a few days later when I wuz tilling one of my own wildlife food plots. Another mother killdeer wuz nesting in the plot — again with four eggs — and she wuz lucky enough to be more cowardly than the first killdeer. She flew in plenty of time for me to spy the nest and eggs and I carefully tilled around her nest. The babies will be hatched before I plant that plot.
The fishing is picking up in the Flint Hills. My friends, the Pegan Rayes, from Twin Lakes, Iowa, stopped by for three days on their return trip from Apache Junction, Ariz., where they overwintered.
Pegan and I went fishing twice and the bass were biting both days and the crappie were biting one day, plus, the bluegill were biting worms if you cared to fish for them. In one pond we caught six bass over three pounds.
The Rayes took home enuf fresh bass fillets to host a couple of fish fries with family and friends.
This is a story from long ago in the era of one-room country schoolhouses. A fresh young teacher took over the school and she wuz trying to make good use of her training in child psychology.
So, one day she started the class with her sixth graders with this statement: "Everyone who thinks he or she is stupid, please stand up."
None of the kids immediately stood up, but then her favorite student, a genuine teacher's pet, stood up tall and proud.
The teacher asked him, "Do you really think you're stupid?"
The kid grinned slyly and replied, "Why, no, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself."
The World Champion Kansas City Royals, the favorite baseball team for Nevah and me, are off to another hot start in defense of their crown. I hope they can keep it up for the entire season. If they can, it will be fun to watch all summer.
The tallgrass prairie has been claiming the lives of good men since it wuz settled by Native Americans. Very, very sadly, it claimed the life of one of the finest, most giving, and most quietly mischievous young men in our community last week. He wuz the victim of a vehicle accident while wrapping up a grass burn. We were close friends and his passing has left a hole in the hearts of folks in the neighborhood that only fond memories can inadequately attempt to fill.
My words of wisdom for the week: Be careful in your work and play. Accidents happen quickly and unexpectedly. Have a good 'un. ❖