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We’ve got birds.

That’s not a metaphor or anything—there are occasional birds inside MDK World Headquarters at Atlas Drive. Don’t worry; our (and your!) yarn is safe and protected from any, hmmmm, carpet bombing that might occur. A couple of times a week, we hear the flap flap flap of a little tiny wren or starling in the kitchen area and we drop everything and go into full-force Operation Bird Brain to get him out safely. Spreadsheets get saved, half-packed orders get abandoned and garage doors go rolling up to the ceiling to allow easy egress for our little feathered friend.

How they’re getting in is an ongoing mystery. There is an opening somewhere, a sliver of light between gable and roof, an unsealed vent or something, but the point of entry remains unidentified, even after frantic phone calls to Brandon, Darryl, Ethan, and Lester (names have been changed to protect the innocent), all of whom promised some solution or other to keep all non-humans out of the building. There’s usually just a lot of standing around in the parking lot and hemming and hawing and figuring and pointing at the roof but so far, no luck. The birds still get in. 

Back in olden times (er, that would be four months ago), when warehouse staff was coming in and working one at a time for safety reasons, the sudden appearance of a bird flying around in a full-on panic in the middle of the night would scare the beejezus out of us. To be honest, though, it was a lonely time to work in the warehouse—all of us communicating with one another by Post-It or (I shudder to even say it) Slack, and I sort of started to look forward to the soft flapping that announced the arrival of a Special Guest. 

When I was beavering away alone in the warehouse all those months, I won’t say I talked to them (I talked to them) and I won’t say I was sad to see them fly off into the wintry cold when I finally cranked open the garage door to allow their escape (I was sad), but I did start to think of them as pandemic companions, however flighty. 

Pandemic time is changing quickly; masks today, no masks tomorrow, who-knows-what the day after that. We’re all vaxxed up and it’s thrilling to be back working together, to have people to talk to while we pack up orders. But I’ll tell you one thing. We still get a little frisson of excitement when we hear the telltale flutter from the front room that can only mean one thing: our friends are back.

Meanwhile . . . A Giveaway

To encourage you to think about birds and warehouses and such, here’s a little giveaway. The prize: a skein of robin’s egg blue yarn—the divine Mohonk Light in the shade Bering—from the divine Jill Draper. This yarn is Ann’s favorite color, so she is really digging deep to let this fly out of Atlas.

How to enter? Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.

Step 2: Leave a comment below with your best bird story.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, May 23, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


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    • I was knitting on a warm day last spring and suddenly heard a ruffly sound in our wood stove (not lit!). I ignored it for a while, engrossed in my project. A movement caught my eye in the stove among the papers there. It was a bird. We tried to grab it when the door opened but not such luck of course. It flew to the back of our house and we found a wee done baby on the kitchen counter. It looked quite terrified or did I just imagine that! He allowed me to pick him up. I left him in the grass and he hopped and flew a bit. I hope he was ok. How he ever got down the chimney is a mystery.

    • My best bird story is an appreciation of the juvenile red-tailed hawk who is haunting our yard/woods. He’s less subtle than the other adults around and when he comes racketing in to inspect our bird feeders, all smaller birds and chipmunks and squirrels go very still or disappear. Then he sits in the tree and screams in frustration. Someone needs to say to the poor guy, “Buddy, that’s not how this works.”

    • Reading about ravens and how they gather around a dead raven for a “funeral” send off!

    • I have a marvelous bird “friend” living in the attic of my barn right next to my carriage house: a large turkey buzzard. I love seeing him come and go freely from an open window (tho my neighbor does NOT) as after all he is a raptor! I was only concerned when one day I spied him strutting the barn roof sternly squawking at my small/medium dog and then at me as if to say,”YOU don’t belong here… this is MY territory!”
      He does leave me magnificent feathers in all sorts of sizes though (think bountiful quill pens galore!!!)

      • Many years ago I came home after a log busy day at work to find 2 birds flying around our home. We were young and new home owners. The birds were agitated, of course, and flying around the main floor (front to back) then upstairs flying similar patterns and naturally pooping everywhere they went!! In my uncertainty as to how to handle this I went to my elderly neighbours a couple of houses down and the Mrs of the home immediately volunteered her husband to come and help me! Poor man! I was concerned it might be more than his heart could handle but between us we got them out before my husband and infant daughter arrived home. How we did it I can’t really remember but it sent me on a sanitizing binge for sure and we then had the chimney repaired

  • I’ll go first! 🙂
    My husband and I were at the beach. Beautiful day… and it was time for a snack so we got out the Doritos. Then a seagull came. So pretty. Big! Alone. Friendly even. I tossed him a Dorito. All his family members including long lost cousins were there in a flash! Swarming around us, like a hurricane of seagulls. We ended up feeding them the whole bag. Great fun and we somehow didn’t get pooped on.

  • I once had a hummingbird fly into my house through an open door. I trapped it against a window and carried it out. I’ll never forget the feel of it in my hands – weightless and incredibly hot, like holding a microscopic fragment of the sun. It was really hard to let it go, but it sure was happy to be back outside…

    • Last summer a blue chickadee (I live in Germany) flew through my balcony door straight to my big picture window. It frantically flew back-and-forth, But as I stepped closer and reached out my hand it combed and let me embrace its warm, soft and light body and free it outside. Fast forward two weeks. Another (???) Blue chickadee flew into my apartment and just as readily let me catch and release it.. Magic!!!

      • There is a crow (or several because how can tell them apart) who regularly come to see who is sitting on our deck. It’s so weird how they want to see our faces before flying away!

  • Our first visit to Popham beach in Maine was a magical day of exploring and finds of shells and sea glass. We took a break to get lunch and as we were getting our cooler out I pointed out a seagull dragging a bag of chips from an unattended blanket nearby. Won’t those people be surprised to discover their food missing I said. We settled in our chairs to eat our sandwiches when I was hit full on the side of my head by what I later realized was a huge seagull. My sandwich went flying and within seconds was devoured by a gang of like minded gulls. An orchestrated hit and we later learned that it was well known that the Popham gulls were aggressive food poachers.

  • When my daughter was little we had parakeets, Bert and Ernie. It was summertime and I hung their cage in a tree to clean it. When I slide the bottom tray out Bert and Ernie “flew the coop”, never to be seen by us again. I imagine some Indiana bird watchers got quite a thrill that day!

  • (fyi – this is take 2…my first one disappeared into the interwebs I suppose as I submitted it yesterday morning so I apologize if it eventually comes up as a repeat) Over our (almost) 25 years together, my hubby and I have dealt with many the baby bird (and bat and squirrel) that found a way into out homes —- and we’re Atlanta city dwellers too! I can recount no less than 7 times that this conversation happened:

    Marion: Joe, I hear something in the attic/basement/other room
    Joe (who has terrible hearing from the war mind you): I don’t hear anything
    —- 5 minutes later —
    Marion: I’m telling you, something is in there
    Joe: fine, I’ll look
    — 30 seconds later —
    Joe: get me a damn towel

    Then I wait , hear more swearing, then Joe brings out the towel with the bird/bat/squirrel wrapped up and let’s them away to their freedom outside……

    It’s truly a funny thing on many levels….why our house? How do they get in? and then the same conversation….


  • We live on Lake Huron in NE Michigan, one day we had a very friendly shimmery white pigeon in our yard. He roosted in our porch eaves for two nights. We discovered a band on his leg with an email address – he was a racing pigeon from Canada! His ‘owner’ said ” he’s a good bird just throw him in the right direction and he’ll come home.” Sad to say we haven’t seen him again, nor were our attempts to find out if he made it home answered.

  • I volunteer at our local zoo hospital and we are the local wildlife rehabilitators. People bring us birds fairly regularly. For some, euthenasia is the kindest option but we rehabilitate many of them. While setting them free when they are recovered is always a wonderful feeling, releasing the tiny songbirds is my favorite. They do not hang around like some of the birds of prey and water birds do, but it makes my heart sing when they hop out of the cage at the release site, look around for a moment, and then fly away in an exuberance of joy.

  • I worked in a museum with a similar bird issue. We could usually shop them out, but once I moved the brochure rack & found one who hadn’t been so lucky. Disposing of it apparently fell into the “other duties as assigned” line of my job description…

  • We were in Arizona last winter and visited the 30,000 migrating Sand cranes. They come down from Nebraska each year. We watched them arrive in the evening from a day of feeding, settle in and sleep the night. Early morning they regroup and head out for the day. They sound like a Boeing 747 taking off. Amazing. Another wonder of the world.

  • There is a tiny pond in back of our house. Every spring the kingfisher, the great blue heron, Mallards and wood ducks return. Last Monday, as I sat on the deck, Mrs. Mallard swam by with TEN pretty new babies. Later that evening I was looking at my journal entry from last year. On that EXACT SAME DATE May 10, 2020, a mother mallard swam by with 7 ducklings for their first appearance on the pond!! I just think that’s remarkable.

    • One of my favorite memories from life in D.C.: Early one Saturday morning I was driving from Alexandria VA north along the Potomac River to Washington DC. After crossing the river into Washington, the road turns north along the opposite bank of the Potomac and past the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As I approached the Kennedy Center, the car ahead of me was stopped as a mother duck was leading her flock of ducklings across the road to the river. Traffic was halted in both directions to let the duck family pass. My favorite traffic jam ever!!

  • We live on 22 acres and have a flock of turkey on the property. The three hens were feeding at the bird feeders for most of one winter, but we had never seen the Tom. On Valentines Day we looked out and the Tom was there surrounded by the three hens feeding on the ground at the feeder. We laughed because they were sharing a Valentines Day dinner.

  • I don’t have a great “bird story,” but I can relate to talking to the birds during pandemic times. Since working from home, and being alone most of the time, I found myself talking to all kinds of inanimate objects, including my yarn. 🙂

  • When the local black cat, lurking beneath the junipers over which the hummingbird feeder hung, got lucky one day, it was momentary. We heard the thump! against the side of the house and raced outside, Joe relieving himself of his flipflips to good effect to rescue the bird, which was making the most amazing amount of noise for something so small!

    Later, with the stunned but intact ruby-throated male hummingbird reposing in a shoebox on a kitchen towel, in Joe’s lap, absorbing sugar water from a dropper, we wondered how long it would take him to take flight again.

    Not long, was the answer, as one of the females we fed appeared midair in front of Joe’s startled nose, and gave the rescuee a severe scolding! He perked up, answered, shook himself, tested one wing, then the other, levitated straight up, and shot away. Laughing, we wondered, was that Mom or wife?

  • Our childhood home had a lovely azalea bush on the front lawn. That is where Mrs. Robin set up housekeeping. She soon filled her nest with 4 beautiful turquoise eggs. My 5 year old sister Joanie just wanted a peek of those colorful eggs. As she quietly tiptoed toward the nest, mother Robin dive-bombed Joanie with her break heading straight toward my little sister’s head. Luckily my Mother’s was there and pulled Joanie away from the nest. The moral of the story: Mothers are fierce protectors of their young.

    • We have a koi pond in our yard that is protected from herons by bird netting. Every fall, we pull the netting over the pond back so it’s not pulled down by snow and ice. We roll the netting up and secure it on the back of the pond. One spring, before we unrolled it, I found a sharp-shinned hawk entangled in the netting. My husband and I covered the hawk with a bath towel and I held it’s body while my husband worked too untangle it’s foot from the netting. The hawk was not happy and wiggled around until it’s head was partially out from under the towel so that the hawk and I were eye to eye! There’s nothing like staring into the eye of an unhappy bird of prey to make you thankful you’re not their prey! Once his leg was free, we carefully removed the towel and got out of it’s way. It flew away and it was quite some time before we saw another sharp-shinned hawk in our yard.

  • There‘s a little house sparrow that likes to perch on the edge of our roof and sun himself. He just perches and sings and suns, and it warms my heart and lifts my spirits.

  • Seasoned birders know to never open their mouths as they look up to see the beautiful flashes of color flit above…

  • This has nothing to do with birds (except maybe for the idea of a flock) and I’m not posting to be entered to win — but to thank all of those in the MDK group (including groupies). I had a long drive and listened to What Happened to You, a new book/audiobook by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. The book is mostly about trauma and the brain but what I took away is how important relationships are to humans. Of course they advocate face-to-face relationships and kinda skoff at e-relationships, but while I agree that face-to-face is best, I don’t skoff at these electronic relationships. I am lifted when reading about others. The Lounge is such a kind place to be. Someone mentions they are about to have surgery and the good luck and recovery messages quickly messages pop up. Kinda nice to know folks are thinking about others. So thanks everybody. Here and on IG (I don’t do Facebook). Thanks for sharing. Thanks for caring.

    • What a lovely observation!

  • One summer morning when my sister was home alone (it was school break & she was probably 14 or 15) she got out of the shower to find that the cat had brought a not-quite-dead-yet bluejay in through the cat door. Lots of fluttering and squawking (from her and the bird, I suppose) My parents and I were working, so she called a friend who lived about a mile away. He showed up on his bike (being too young to drive yet) wearing a lacrosse helmet and carrying a broom across the handlebars. He bravely rescued her and helped her shoo it out of the house. Now that’s friendship!

  • After a storm I found a baby bird on the ground. Took him in and fed him canned dog food (vet’s advice). Kept him in the laundry room and moved a pencil cactus in there for him to perch. He finally got his feathers. The chick turned into a mockingbird. After his release he hung around and I could walk outside and call him with my finger outstretched. He would land on it expecting some more dog food. Finally started seeing him less and less and then he was gone. A most rewarding experience!

  • My best bird story is always someone else’s. I am especially fascinated by Corvids – the bird brains – so many interesting tales…

  • My husband once had a cat named “Air Raid” because the mockingbirds dive bombed her. That cat had zero sense of humor.

  • I work for a public school district and my office used to be situated on a large courtyard. There were windows all along the hallway adjacent to the office, and one day there was quite a ruckus outside. Somehow a sweet little hummingbird got in and was trying to use the windows to get out. It was all hands on deck to try to maneuver him to a door we had standing open before any injury occurred. I loved hummers and was so joyful to have him back outside amongst the flowers!

  • Sweetest bird story I’ve got: watching traffic stop for 5 minutes in all lanes of a state highway, where normally everything zips by at 55+ mph, so a mama wood duck and her brood of 10 one-day-old balls of fluff could get across, as fast as the ducklings teeny legs could carry them. The nest tree was on one side of the highway, the pond where they would spend their next month was on the other, and thanks to alert motorists in the front they all made it – and no one honked or complained, there was just a collective, ‘So cute!’

  • I have lots of bird stories, but the most recent is a pair of red shafted flickers have dug out a hole in my neighbors birch stump. It is about 10 feet up, and I can see perfectly from my yard. I’m looking forward to watching baby birds soon.

  • Standing on the edge of an ocean pier, salty, stringy hair blowing in my eyes, waving a French fry. Powerful white feathers, a flashing gimlet glance, and the fry is aloft and away.

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  • During Pandemic 2020, when I worked from our guest bedroom, a pair of mourning doves raised 4 broods in succession from my window ledge. They provided a nice diversion from zoom meetings and job search activities.

  • I was leaning against a Maple tree beside my pond, totally still. After about 1/2 hour, a Marsh Hawk glided in low, across the field, landing on a branch not far above my head. I felt the breath of her wings on my face. Magical, and a blessing. I sold my Maine homestead about 2 years ago. Although wrenching, I now know that memories like this one live on in me.

  • My, but those mischievous internet faeries are having a bit of ornery fun. Third time’s a charm, I’m sure of it.

    By my back door, a robin built a nest. She crafted it on top of some greenery and a birdhouse I had unceremoniously stuck in a cement planter hanging on an east facing wall. She filled it with two precious blue eggs, and I had a front row seat as she flew back and forth to feed her little hatchlings until they were big enough to fly away. The next year she came back and built a second story. Again, I enjoyed watching her care for her brood. Often, I’d come home for lunch, sit on my back porch and become part of her world as little beaks noisy begged for more. “More worms, “Mommy!” they piped in a riotous chorus. She built a nest atop these two the next year. It was precariously close to the ceiling, but she had just enough room to perch on its side as she fed her young.
    That was the last year I saw her. There was just no more room to build taller. For several years, I left the nest there, appreciative of its reminder of nature.
    Then this year, a big wind blew it down. We’d had big winds before, so I don’t know why, in its sheltered corner, this year it fell. I was surprised to find my birdhouse under all the nesting that had accumulated. I’d completely forgotten it. Our spring was a cold, blustery one, so several days I walked right past it, tucked away by my backdoor. The fall had broken the three nests apart and its shape was indistinguishable, so regretfully, I put it in the bin.
    A few weeks later, out of nowhere it seemed, there was a bunny nest in the middle of my backyard. And you know what sheltered its entrance? Like a hatch, the robin nesting material was laid over the soft, fluffy insides of the bunny nest.
    Now, the bunnies are big enough, they are gone. Their nest, snuggled by the spring-green grass I’d let grow long around it, is empty too. I’ll remove it and repair the lawn. But, not just yet. It’s another precious reminder of nature.

  • 4th time trying to comment. My boyfriend and I were walking to the end of his driveway to go out for a stroll. A bald eagle swooped down less than 20 ft in front of us and scooped up a squirrel which had been hit by a car. We both felt awed and honored by the presence of such a magnificent bird.

  • We have a never ending bevy of Blue Jays attempting to build nests in various locations in front of, all around and behind our cabin in Lake Tahoe. I’ve been told they are kind of crappy nest builders and after watching their technique, I would say that is correct. We have a pair (sadly named the moron twins) who come every spring and attempt to build a nest on an open beam on our front porch. Their method is to pile an assortment of sticks and leaf litter on the beam and hope for the best. They pile it, push it around, squawk at each other, then fly off to get more knocking all of it off. We get a pile of debris on the porch and they have no nest, repeat process for days. Every. Single. Year…

  • My apartment door is on the sheltered size of the building, and one wild, freezing fall night, a bird who was sheltering in the wreath on my door burst into my apartment when I opened the door, scaring about 5 years off my life. I quickly contained my cat in my bedroom (he was eager to help but his methods were dubious), and spent the next 15-20 minutes with my sliding door open, trying to shoe the bird out as things got colder and colder inside. Finally I was able to get the bird out and start warming up. Oddly enough he didn’t come back to my wreath after that…probably figured it wasn’t worth it!

  • I wish I had a good story about birds, but, alas, it’s about another winged creature…bats. I still shudder at the thought. I’m glad your visitors are just birds!

  • A good friend of mine keeps “rescue pigeons”, including a pair in her house. During covid Zoom meetings they flutter around behind her head and coo nonstop. They also helped themselves to her knitting needles and other things for their nest this spring. PS, “Fly-pers” are a thing.

  • Our birdfeeder sits in the backyard beyond the kitchen window. One morning, I walked into the kitchen to find my 2 cats hunkered down in the double kitchen sinks, peeking out the window at the large woodpecker eating from suet attached to the feeder. Cinders and Ashes (yes, one is black and the other gray) pounced and hit the window at the same time. The woodpecker continued eating his suet, unfazed. The cats gave up and took a nap!

    • 2nd try. I love watching birds. However, there are many squirrel friends. Bought bird feeder that was supposed to be squirrel proof. They tore into it. A neighbor helped me works! I get to enjoy my birds.

  • I’ve had 3 male and one female Western Tanagers hanging out by my water fountain and suet feeder for the last couple days. It used to be that I was lucky to catch a glimpse of this bird each Spring as I migrated to its breeding grounds further north. To see them for so long had been a real treat!

  • We got chased by a swan once when we were canoeing! It was magnificent but terrifying at the same time! I guess we got too close to the nest or something. We had been quietly following him (it?) from a distance, then he disappeared into the weeds and we didn’t think anything of it, until he came out at us! We never paddled so hard in our lives! He was huge; coming at us screeching, with wings outstretched and flapping, running on top of the water! He settled down after we got a long ways away from the weeds, but he continued to follow us and wasn’t happy until we decided we needed to be done for the day. He swam back and both behind us until we took the canoe right out of the water!

    • A similar thing happened to my daughter when she was in college —and thus began her lifelong dislike of beautiful swans! (But it makes for a great story.)

  • Not typing the WHOLE story again – but mine was about when my daughter couldn’t keep the secret of a gift I was getting – a pet canary.

  • As my husband and I were packing up after staying in my mom’s new – and newly painted white- beach house, we left the door open as we took bags to the car. We came back in to find a bird in panic mode. As we tried to get it out, it shat everywhere – it managed to hit each wall and the beige couches. Black poo against white walls. Everywhere. After about 15 minutes … More poo, more flashing, more time delayed departure…We finally got the bird out, cleaned up as best we could, and called mom. I was more terrified of that phone call then I’d ever been coming home too late (and perhaps a bit drunk) in high school. She took it well, the painter got back to work, and we NEVER left the door open again.

  • Tawny Frogmouth guarding our letterbox!

  • When I was a kid, one summer day the family cat was making a ruckus outside the front door to be let in (he’d stick his paw in the mail slot and rattle it and my mom would go let him in, in a Pavlovian fugue state most of the time) — so my mom went to the door and let him in.

    He came racing in the house, a bird in his mouth and went directly to the kitchen and placed the bird in his food dish. (We figure he wasn’t hungry just then and was saving the bird for later.)

    The bird, unharmed, immediately flew out of the dish and my mother spent the next half hour chasing it around the house with a broom until she was finally able to escort it out the open front door.

    Cat did not speak to my mother for the rest of the day.

  • A Party Bus of colorful and unusual birds hit our bird feeders all at once this weekend—red-winged blackbirds, downy woodpeckers, a Baltimore Oriole, several cardinal pairs, some rose-breasted grosbeaks, hummingbirds, and goldfinches. And then they were gone. Well, the faithful hummingbirds and cardinals stayed behind. The rock star life isn’t for everyone.

  • I’ve tried twice to enter a comment about birds and my feeders and they keep disappearing. No clue why this is happening.

  • My grandson made a birdhouse for his mother for Mother’s Day. He is hoping for his favorite bird, the seagull, to take up residence. We live in suburban Chicago, but no one wants to dash his hopes. Much to his chagrin a wren seems to be ready to call it home.

  • We own tee tropical birds, one of them an African Grey (a good talker). Several years ago, I broke my foot and was forced to use a knee trolley. It was frustrating! I only realized how frustrating it was when, one evening, sitting in the living room, I hear the Grey say (in my voice) “Oh s**t! Oh s**t!” Almost as bad as have ing a little one with listening ears!

    • In my 20’s I lived in a third floor walk up in a sketchy part of town. I kept requesting a screen for my window, but the super kept saying he did not have any. One day a bird flew into my apartment and I made him chase the bird out. Miraculously a screen appeared in my window that same day. Much later in life there was a crow that one day started yelling at me whenever I left the house. Knowing how smart they are and how they remember faces I knew I had somehow offended him apparently the day before. I never could figure out what I had done. This went on for a couple of years. I love it when the birds come to my window and even start fussingbat me when I am too late putting out the feeders in the morning. (Bears.)

  • I had a parakeet named Sam. He was quite tame and would perch on my shoulder while I worked around the house. One day while I was washing dishes in the kitchen sink, he proceeded to fly into the sink into a bowl under the running water and proceeded to take a bath, splashing his wings and darting in and out of the water. When he was finished he shook himself off and flew back to my shoulder to resume his perch. I haven’t thought of that story in a while but it still makes me smile.

  • We currently have a Robin’s nest in a rose bush right by our front door. It’s a joy everyday to see the mother ribbon sitting patiently on the nest, seemingly unafraid of us. Soon, we’ll have chirping baby robins!

  • Watching 6-7 hummingbirds fight over 4 slots on the feeder is always entertaining!

  • When I was 12, I used to help my brother with his early morning paper route. We would head out at 4:30 a.m. to get all of the papers delivered by 6. He paid me $2/week. One thing I would notice was that, even though it was pitch black out, the birds knew that morning was coming and would be singing their hearts out. Now, almost 50 years later, if I wake up in the early hours, I hear the same birdsong! I can’t believe that global warming, deforestation, and all of the other horrible things that humans have done the earth hasn’t changed these birds’ songs at all!

  • We have also had pandemic visitors in the shape of birds. We learned that mom (me) is not able to handle wildlife in the house. Luckily, each time my daughter, who detests insects, rises to the occasion and talks the birds out of the house. Bird whisperer. This last time, the birds came in a pair. Follow the leader I guess.

  • Not typing for 3rd time, but want all to know that I enjoy my backyard birds!

  • For the third time, I saw a hawk in Costco.

  • I talk to all the birds that come to my window feeder. The best story I have is my male cardinal would get foos and then jump down and give it to his mate.

  • It isn’t exactly an interesting story, but I’ve loved watching the birds this spring with my 2YO. Some sparrows nested right by our back door and we could see the babies pop up for meals every 10 minutes. The small person was obsessed!

  • This is a repeat for me too, don’t know where the first one went.

    My son Ben, at the time 10, and I found a bird in the fireplace. I sent him for the butterfly net and we slowly opened the glass doors, this of course did not work and she was flying around the living room. ( We had thought to close the doors, luckily.) She landed in the bay window among the plants and Ben caught her with the net. Then looked at me and said, “Now what?” I went for a cookie sheet, slid it under, and we were able to release her outside. Victory! Next, have the screen on the fireplace replaced…

  • The first time I saw a pelican in my excitement I yelled to everyone “Look at the penguin “.

  • I live in a rural area surrounded by woods. I had some old bread so I threw it out into a clearing that I see from my kitchen window. The bread stayed there for awhile. (Apparently my wildlife has gone gluten free?) Then the largest, most magnificent crow I’ve ever seen came to dance around with the old bread. He was a sight to behold! After entertaining me for some time, he took flight with bread in beak, and circled around my house in progressively larger circles as he soared upward. I felt as though I had received a crow’s blessing.

    Days pass and once again he comes to visit the clearing. Oh no! I have no bread left. But I had some tofu left in the fridge (don’t judge). So I ran out and left my tofu-offering. He was unimpressed. As was the rest of the wildlife. (I bet if I look hard enough, that tofu will still be out there. I wonder what the half-life of tofu is.)

    I haven’t seen my crow since. I guess some friends only want to hang out with you when you’re willing to gluten (booze, gossip) it up. Once you make a change to live differently, they disappear. Lessons I’ve learned from a crow.

  • We have a small pond in our backyard teeming with fabulously colored, long-tailed goldfish and Koi. One by one they started to disappear. I spotted the culprit one morning and ran screaming and flapping my arms wildly, much to the amusement of my neighbors, only to watch as the Heron lifted off and landed on my neighbor’s roof to gulp down the Koi he had just abducted. This continued until I arrived home one day to discover that my husband had positioned 2 pink plastic flamingos from a box in the garage at the edge of the pond. Now there was at least a tripping hazard in place for the buffet. I watched the Heron land one day, warily walk around on the lawn and take off again. Pink flamingos, who knew?

  • I once saw an Osprey catch a fish, and as it was soaring away, saw a seagull fly upside down to snatch the fish from the Osprey’s grasp!

    • Several bird stories. My laughing so hard when my brother got bird pooped– was 5. My getting dive bombed by a mother bird guarding her nest in the bushes on the way to the clothesline while my mother who passed twice a day was not attacked. Taught me there was benefits to doing chores. I was 8ish. Early 20’s I was in a 3rd floor walk up in a sketchy part of town where apartment maintenance was not prioritized. I kept asking for a screen and was told not possible. One day a bird flew in my open window. I asked the super to chase the bird out which he did. That afternoon I had a screen. Many many years later….I love when birds fuss at me if 8 am late putting out the bird feeders in the morning. (Bears.)

  • Could it be that comments are working again?
    We just had a bird situation here! A wind storm blew a young fledgling blue bird out of its nest, and it hopped up to our front door. It was very calm, and I put it in my Stranded Diamond hat (from Field Guide 8), and we hung the hat on a nail on a tree to keep it away from cats, and closer to Mom and Dad. In the morning, it said hello to me and then it managed to make it back up to the nest over the course of the day. You can see it here:

  • I had a mourning dove nest in a hanging pot on my suburban patio. I found out suddenly one morning when I woke up to the chirping baby birds at sunrise: they were very early risers. The momma bird did not like us to use the patio while she was brooding. She came back two years in a row.

  • Grew up in a Canada Goose flyway. Always enjoy watching and hearing them as they head out to feed in the early mornings and return to the lakes in the late afternoons. Each spring, even as the first crocus emerges, there is a sense of lonliness as we realize the geese have left us for their Northern breeding grounds.

  • Last spring, I discovered a hummingbird got trapped in our garage, and was flapping against a window. Exhausted, it fell down into a little bowl on the sill. I carefully picked up the bowl and walked it outside. While the hummingbird was resting, I got to look at its beautiful feathers. So iridescent! So incredible to see one close up. After a bit of rest, it was recovered enough to fly off!

  • I work in a campus-like setting that has a small stream at one end of the property. At least 10 years ago, the traffic on the busy multi-lane road next to the campus was stopped. A goose and her little ones were crossing the street to get to the stream. It was a picture from “Make way for ducklings” without the policeman. (2nd try)

    • “Make way for ducklings” is my all-time favorite children’s book!!

  • The knocking noise on the shed roof was the ducklings leaving their nest. The nest was in a large poplar tree. The tree was in a back garden about 1/2 mile from the nearest pond. Once my brother had rounded up the 7 ducklings the mother duck would follow him song the road to the park and the pond. She was voicing her feelings all the way!

  • Birds used to get into the warehouse where I worked – the loading dock roll-up doors were open all day long – but they usually managed to find their way out the same day. A small hawk stayed in the warehouse for several days flying above the activity. Eventually he must have terrorized all the mice into hiding and someone was able to coax him to the back of the warehouse and out a small door. Hopefully the hunting was better in the tall grass along the abandoned railroad tracks.

  • A hummingbird trained my Dad to refill the feeder by buzzing him and twittering when it was empty.

  • My husband had an AmericCorps position in coastal Alaska, where bald eagles were almost more pest than national treasure. (Their cry sounds like squeaky sneakers on a gym floor!) One day we met up with friends, walked along the docks, and bought hot dogs from a little pop-up stand. Someone in the group set their food on the railing and a bald eagle stole it!

    Thieving wildlife aside, Alaska was stunning and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

  • Testing for an FB follower…

  • When I was a kid sharing a bedroom with my sister, she had a green parakeet named Bart Starr that lived in our room. His cage door was always clipped open with a clothes pin so he could fly freely to his favorite perch on top of our drapes. Normal, right?

  • Thank you, DG, for sharing your bird story. My husband and I spent quite some time remembering our (many) bird stories this morning. One of our favorites is the year I dressed as Harry Potter for Halloween. I wore my costume to work, then kept it on to hand out treats at home. We were putting our pumpkins away when we heard dead leaves rustling in the trees across the street. It was dark by then, so it took a minute to spot two Saw-whet owls among the leaves. We thought it was perfect to have owls visit Harry on Halloween. Too bad they didn’t deliver our acceptance letters!

  • A year ago last spring, we opened our back door and a male cardinal flew right in. As if he had been waiting near our porch as polite as can be. He flew calmly around our open-plan downstairs, perched on an old ladder where we hang plants, deftly avoided the large but gentle gill-safe fishing net my husband held and the guiding blankets the rest of us tried to hold up. He then flew to our refrigerator. Perched as if for a picture, which I took, and then flew across the room and out the door. I later read cardinals can be ancestors coming to greet you and the calmness and intelligence of this bird really reminded me of my father.

  • This is maybe a sad story… My father is a duck collector, (live ones!) each spring of my childhood I had at least one baby duck or goose to raise. My most memorable was Gooby, my favorite baby mallard, my dad actually found him on the side of our (country) road and it fell to me to raise Gooby. We were inseparable that spring, I always had Gooby by my side. Sadly ducks grow quickly and it wasn’t long before Gooby was too big for his box, we had to move him out to the pen with the other ducks. I would still go out to see him, but Gooby started to prefer the company of his own kind. I was also a preoccupied preteen so it was a relief to no longer have the responsibility of Gooby’s care on my shoulders. We grew apart and as far as I knew that was the end of the story, until a few years ago when my sister informed me that a few months after Gooby moved in with the other ducks he escaped the pen, my dad stopped the dogs as fast as he could, but Gooby was dead. I guess my dad noticed that Gooby was nice and big, and would make a delicious snack. My dad is also a duck hunter, and we all look forward to duck dinners in the fall. But my sister suspected the worst when she noticed my father eating duck in the SUMMER! RIP Gooby!

  • I remember a time similar to yours when a bird got inside through a doggy door. I commented that the bird seemed like it was singing so loudly it felt like it was inside. Ha, it was! It eventually found our potted octopus tree that we carefully moved out the door. He stayed a few minutes and flew away.

  • When I was working, in the spring and summer I would cycle to and from work. Part of my route was cycling along a trail right by a river. Every Spring about 100 geese would be nesting along the river in the same section with their newborn goslings. When I arrived at this section of my route, I was literally chased every time by a couple of geese who were protecting their young. Needless to say, geese are pretty aggressive. I am relieved that I was never chased down. This really puts a perspective on Mothers doing anything to protect their young.

  • Last spring I was whistling for my dogs and a backyard bird changed its tune to respond. We whistled back and forth for a few minutes. Amidst the loneliness and tension of the early pandemic, it felt especially magical and reassuring.
    (Also, now whenever I whistle for my dogs and birds DON’T change their tune, I imagine it as boundary setting… “Hank did that one time but don’t expect it from me, lady!)

    • I once experienced a mockingbird sitting outside my open library window perfectly mimicking my old tabby cat Fanny who was meowing at him from the window sill. Many days later, the mockingbird returned and made the same sound, summoning Fanny from the recesses of the house for a through-the-screen chat, I suppose

  • Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    We were walking in a natural area a couple of weeks ago and there was a man rather ecstatic that he had heard a bluethroath in the vicinity “the first one this year” We’re not all that knowledgeable about birds but do like to take pictures of them so we lingered about for a while but saw nothing of course. Then we came to the other side of the (large) pond about an hour later and saw the bird flying past us. We took a few steps in that direction and it neatly posed for us for a good 3 minutes before it flew away again.
  • This spring the blackbirds have been unusually present and loud in our yard. They are so angry that I have been putting cheap seeds in the bird feeder that they chase our cat every time he goes outside. He darts for the house immediately and I have visions of Alfred Hitchcock lurking around the yard.

  • My sons were just little baby birds themselves, perhaps five and three, when a mama dove built a nest in the wreath on our front door. I can see the appeal: it’s well shaded by the small porch, and protected by a wall to the west, from which the worst winds originate. It seemed she built it overnight; one day it was just a door with a wreath, and the next, we opened it to a great gray flapping and fury! We were very careful after that.

    Our wreath hung on the outside of the storm door, so we’d slowly, cautiously open the wooden door to peer into her nest. If we were very careful, she’d stay; if we moved too rashly, she’d swoop to the nearby tree, mistrust of our intentions toward her precious eggs (there were two).

    Both hatched into tiny creatures that seemed more mouth than body; their needy insistence was still familiar to me. On the other side of the glass, I’d lift my sons, now heavy in my arms, to marvel at the babies and their mother, and they’d look back at us. My children, normally whirlwinds of words and action, were silent in their amazement.

    Eventually, of course, the baby birds grew up and flew. But more than a decade later, I still see doves around our home — visiting our feeders in the morning and evening, perching on the zenith of our roof, sounding their mournful notes from our trees — her progeny, all these years later.

  • As a retired high school English teacher, I’d like to offer a comment on the many bird idioms we have in our language. A sampling: free as a bird, early bird, bird in the hand (etc.), bird’s eye view, a little bird told me, a rare bird, and so many more about ducks, eagles, chickens, and other flying creatures. Actually, aren’t we fiber folks birds of a feather?

    • Love this! And what about my nieces and nephews who have all flown the coop…

  • One year we noticed a bird had built a nest right next to our front door. We worried that our comings and goings would bother the mother so we used the back door as much as possible. Soon there were eggs, then chicks, then one day they were gone and there was a broken shell on the ground. We hope they all got away safely.

  • Birds like our house. We have two bird feeders so I guess we attract them. I cannot have hanging plants without adding a layer of crushed bits of aluminum foil to the bottom or else the “locals” will use them as nests, and consequently kill the flowers. We also had birds nest in our shower air vent. We waited until they were old enough to fly off before we had it fixed. Love seeing them in the yard and on the feeders. In the vents and in the hanging plants, not so much.

  • When I was growing up, sometimes a bird would fall down the vent pipe of the cellar. Then when I went to get something from the cellar, the bird would fly out, straight at my head! Not surprisingly, I was afraid of birds for a long time.

  • I’m a music teacher in several schools each day, and one day, upon returning to my middle school after classes, found a group of students practicing. They greeted me cheerfully/nonchalantly, saying “oh hi Ms. S – we’re rehearsing our quartet for the festival and also there’s a bird somewhere in the room…” Apparently a little bird had popped in and was sitting, dazed, behind a tuba! Fortunately they didn’t mind pausing rehearsal to help usher their flighty guest safely outside!

  • While vacationing in Cancun, I met a man with macaws on each shoulder. He had a scarlet on one side and a blue and yellow on the other. Blue and yellow macaws are one of my favorite birds. When I saw it, I did the “aww it’s so pretty” gushing over another man’s bird thing. He asked if I wanted the bird to kiss me, which I immediately accepted. Being “kissed” by a blue and yellow macaw was one of the highlights of my trip!

  • I was a French major in college but needed additional science credits, so I took Ornithology class over the summer break. I didn’t know that birds are most active at dawn and dusk so was surprised that my classes started at 6 am! My love of birding continues today….

  • Last spring I remotely watched an eaglet grow and fledge from its nest (Rocky River Res., OH eagle cam). The life of an eaglet is not all that easy but it learns and is able to fly away eventually. It made me both happy and sad to see it happen. The eaglet spends a lot of time alone in the nest when it’s older, are the parents trying to tell it something? It survived with some food dropoffs from the parents. Watching it be on its own so much was a lesson in solitude.

  • A sad story. One year our live Christmas wreath up left up too long outside. When I finally took it down, I also pulled down a bird’s nest that had been built on the top of it with all the eggs broke on the ground. Now we take the wreath earlier and always check the top of the wreath.

  • My husband was readying his boat for the summer when he heard a crash. Investigating, he discovered a hummingbird had divebombed into the side of the next boat over. Ever the first responder, he attempted CPR on the victim, but alas to no avail. Couldn’t stop thinking about it. He gave it a proper burial, but came home to grieve.

  • I live across a narrow river from a blue heron rookery and love to watch the baby birds learning to fly and fish.

  • My mother loved birds and went to great lengths to attract all kinds of birds to her back yard. She particularly loved blue birds, which she was able to see only once or twice in our wooded neighborhood. Toward the end of her life, when she had broken her leg and had to spend months in a health care facility, I noticed there was an iron hook for hanging a feeder outside her window. It took a few days and some bird seed cylinders encrusted with dried meal worms (ick), but I successfully lured some blue birds to her window for her to see. It was a holy thing.

  • for some reason, my parents decided to name me and my sister after birds: Robin and Rene’ (wren for short)

  • My best bird story – I have snippets that reside in my heart instead of a story. A child, I am walking with my mother in the woods of northern New York, when she says excitedly, “Look! A scarlet tanager!” “I don’t see it,” I reply and she looks at me thoughtfully. “I think we need to get you glasses.” We did. As a teenager, when I am my full height if not yet weight, my father and I are canoeing down a brook. From time to time we stop, and I climb on his shoulders and take a hand-built wood duck house from him and nail it to a tree. As a mother and newly a university teacher, I wake one day to find a starling in the living room of my solidly sealed, concrete row house. In memory, I wonder why instead of how as I open an escape for it. In a recent year, I gaze at a photo taken by my brother, who died half my life ago. It is of my mother, gray-haired and smiling like a child, hand reached out to a small bird fluttering in for a landing. And an unexpectedly magic moment in the fall of 2020 – my sister and I stand with our masks on by an enormous lotus-filled pond, watching chimney swifts outpace any effort to photograph them, as they swoop with speed and grace to feast on insects we cannot see.

  • Mockingbirds can be ferocious! When I was a child, we had a mockingbird who nested in a tree near our front door for several years in a row. My mother named her “Flora Dora” – she would “attack” anyone who walked up the side walk to the front door (during nesting season?). Our cat Fluffy would be spread flat in the yard until we rescued her from diving Flora Dora. Once my elderly Uncle Virgil came to visit and Flora Dora flew down and pecked his dear old bald head. The bird actually drew blood!

  • A hawk visit to our 5-feeder backyard caused the finches and sparrows to scatter into the bushes for shelter, where they nevertheless continued to chatter in excitement. The hawk walked (yes walked) all around the yard till he suddenly jumped talons first into a bush, caught a sparrow and flew off. The yard was somewhat quieter than usual for a few days.

  • I had a lovely visit from a Western Tanager that lasted throughout an entire weekend. He would sit at my window in the kitchen then follow me upstairs multiple times a day and sit on the railing outside my bedroom. I had never seen this bird before and I was sad when he finally flew away. I don’t know what prompted his visit but he made quite an impact and I’ve never forgotten it. ♥️

  • Seeing the first hummingbird of the Spring season, and monitoring their daily return until Fall.

  • I once worked in a building, in downtown San Francisco, that looked like a solid square block from the outside but actually had an open courtyard in the middle, with magnolia trees growing in huge raised containers. A hummingbird nest appeared in one of these trees, and I kept an eye on it every morning during my break for a few weeks while the baby birds developed. They exercised their new wings by gripping the edge of the nest with their tiny feet and just flapping and flapping, and I happened to be there one morning when one of them let go of the nest and flew for the first time, just about a foot away, landing on a branch. That little bird actually had a look on its face like it was shocked at what it had just done. It looked at the nest, looked down at its feet, back at the nest. That was 30 years ago and I’ll never forget it.

  • Our cat, Lucy, used to catch birds, bring them in through the dog door and then let them go in the house. It must have been her idea of a wonderful game, but neither the birds or us enjoyed it as much.
    Turns out our teenager was the best bird rescuer. After 5-6 birds being saved, the cat quit bringing them in.

  • I hate to say it, but birds and I are not on good terms. Birds harbour a deep dislike for me, as more often than not, when they see me, they dive bomb me. I’ve seen them come from across the field, all line up on the telephone wire, and take turns diving at me as I pass them on my walks. It also isn’t confined to a particular species either. The only thing I can think of is they hate my red hair. This whole situation has made me rather suspicious of all birds, and I’m sure the neighbours think I’m crazy, as I walk down the road, windmilling my arms so the birds don’t get my head.

  • Miss Abbie is quite the huntress- she is allowed to go on the upper deck only. While she looks docile, have no doubt that she is on the look. A little chickadee had the misfortune of flying too close and got her tail stuck in Missie’s lips: thankfully I was watching from near and got the birdie safely released! Oh my! What a drama that was. But no more as Miss A is now wearing a bright SafeBirds collar!

  • I love the tenacity of the blue jays who stealthily hop through the branches of our hedge ( yes we do see you) around to the roof, hop up there and wait sitting on the eavestroughs until the coast is clear then jump down on to the deck and hop over to pick up a peanut then fly off only to repeat the whole process a few minutes later. They are so smart. The squirrel will dig a hole in the grass and plant a peanut and a few seconds later the jay flies down, roots around, grabs the peanut and flies away. Always provides entertainment while having morning coffee outside

  • Most of my bird-watching is done from my living room window, but my bird feeders occasionally get something exotic. Last summer we had a green parakeet. Earlier this year we had a wild turkey. And right now, along with our usual mourning doves, we have honest-to-goodness pigeons. Must be visiting from the city.

  • Love watching the birds come and go in my backyard. I am especially fond of spring time when the fledglings learn to fly. We have a sheltered space on the back lawn where we can watch the babies learn to touch down and take back off. My favorite are the baby owls. Two years in a row we had a mamma nest in one of our trees. Such a wonderful time of year. After a winter of loss for my family it has been especially heartwarming and life affirming to watch this happen this past spring.

  • No real story… just that I love the call of the birds in the morning as I wake up. makes for a wonderful morning.

  • One day we were in the garage looking for something (I don’t remember what) when our cat came proudly stalking in with a bird in his mouth. My 8 year old daughter was shocked and spoke the cat’s name is such an accusatory tone that the proud boy dropped his prize and turned to dash away. Christie picked up the bird, which appeared dead. She said she could see it breathing and settled down just outside the garage against a sunny wall as I went inside to grab the yellow pages (remember phone books? Yes, Christie is old enough these days that her youngest is just 8 now) and look for a bird rehab or bird vet. Couldn’t find a vet who would take a wild bird and went outside to give her the bad news. One tear slipped out, but she insisted we should give the little guy just a few minutes and maybe a little water. I went inside to get the water and a straw. When I came back a found a child on her feet with the brightest grin on her face, which was turned to the sky. The bird had come back to awareness, turned upright, gave her one long look and flew right out of her hands! We were both overjoyed! Life found a way – and so did that wonderful little bird and my daughter’s wonderful little spirit!!!

  • My daughter asked for Zebra Finches for her birthday one year. She read a lot about them to prepare, so we got her a pair of Finches. Later we got a nest to hang in the cage, along with some nesting materials from the pet shop.
    It was very interesting watching the male bird prepare the nest. During a (not so!) bright moment, I added some very soft wool fleece to the cage. A little while later, as walked past the cage I saw the male dangling upside-down, with his (toothpick thin) legs bound by strands of wool! I was horrified!
    I found an Exacto knife with a long, thin blade, held the bird as gently as I could, and snipped the wool, strand by strand to free him. It was quite traumatic for both of us, but thankfully I was successful. No more ” helping out” with nesting materials!!

  • The first time The Birds was shown on TV I was a teenager (that dates me!!) and watched it with my parents. My dad rarely watched anything but the news so this was an unusual family event. When the movie was over my dad went outside to have a cigarette, something he did every night. A few minutes later the doorbell rang. I opened the door and a large crow was thrust into my face!! I screamed, my mom screamed, my dad laughed! The crow was sitting calmly on his hand. When he went outside to smoke this bird was outside the door so he extended his hand and the bird jumped onboard.
    Every time The Birds is on TV I watch it and think of my dad, the bird whisperer!

  • I was making dinner in our 100 year old house and I heard birds peeping very close by. The electric stove is where the old wood burner stove was placed. It turns out there were chimney swifts nesting in the old chimney and the babies had grown loud enough to hear through the wall and bricks. They got progressively louder over the days until they flew away. The swifts return every year.

  • I live in Portland and a few years ago crows started converging on downtown. I’m talking thousands of crows flying over the river every night at dusk. It was pretty magical to watch as I walked over the bridge!

  • A hummingbird flew in an open door and went straight up into the tallest skylight in our high two-story living room ceiling. No way to reach it to encourage it out, I was beside myself with worry for this little guy as it fluttered against the glass. I closed all the blinds I could and laid a trail of my brightest red scarves and an assortment of red woolens hanging on the open door and balcony rail beyond. It looked like laundry day for the Only-Wear-Red Family. After a long wait, the little bird finally left his high perch, zoomed down, and followed the trail to safety. PHEW!!

  • Not really a bird person but I LOVE that Robin’s egg blue colour. Seeing it on a classic car has been known to make me drool.

  • Never told this story in writing before but firsts are good for the soul so here it goes:
    My mom was full of “great ideas” when I was growing up and I think she was missing my great-grandma who always had pet birds, colorful macaws (I think) and birds that looked like finches. All of them were deeply in love with her; they’d have conversations. I remember playing on the porch and great-grandma’s birds would be eating their food off the table like humans.
    There’s the nostalgic childhood piece that hindsight affords. Now, fast forward to high school and the love birds terrorizing me.
    My parents had too many kids and thus converted the formal dining room into my bedroom: put up a quick wall and a door for some privacy between me and the kitchen. That minor home improvement went well until the lovebirds set up roost right outside the dividing wall.
    First impression duped me—they seemed enamored with each other & content with the space & stopped tittering when mom draped the night-time cloth over their private space. Only they started squawking just loud enough for me to hear once everyone else went to bed and I stayed up to work on homework at the kitchen table. I’d transition into my bedroom, which seemed to quell their chatter. But, as soon as I’d turn out the light to go to sleep, they better chitchatting loud enough to delay the much-need sleep. Their unfounded hatred for me crescendoed into screaming at me whenever I was home alone with the love birds. I tried everything: cooing softly, giving them extra bricks of treats, refreshing their water, moving them closer to the window. When none of my attempts to make friends worked, I tattled. Mom, as usual, told me to solve my own problems. I was out of strategies. What made the whole hate birds’ treatment toward me worse was that none of my family believed me since the clever birds’ torment only unslotted when we were alone. I felt abused. I felt trapped. I felt crazy. So, I resorted to fighting. As soon as they began screaming at me, I would carry their whole cage to the bathtub. (Empty of course! What! Do you think me a monster!) One afternoon I got caught, yelled at by the humans and the birds and couldn’t wait for college to start in the fall.

  • My bird story.
    When we moved into our home there was a pretty little hemlock tree in the back yard. We noticed that a sweet little hummingbird made its regular perch on the slender topmost branch. It was its resting place and seemed to be its safety perch also. The branch being so fine that other birds would be too large to perch on it.
    So apparently a couple of the trees here were not planted well, and the little hemlock began to die. By the time it was a full fire hazard we were sad at the thought of having to remove it. Especially sad for the little hummingbird. Where would it go to rest and be safe?
    Thus was my idea born. I cut all the branches off to about six inches, leaving the fine top branches. Then I hung bird feeders on the six inch stubs!
    Now we have a beautiful bird observation spot and are able to see and learn so many birds. We have woodpeckers, juncos, sparrow, bushtits, black headed grosbeaks and even beautiful western tanagers! But the very best part is, that even with all the bird activity going on below, the little hummingbird is still able to safely perch atop our new “bird feeder”!

  • One especially difficult summer, I watched a pair of cardinals build a nest just a few feet away from my morning coffee spot in the backyard. Watched for the eggs to hatch. Watched the launching of the fledglings. The cardinals’ journey spoke to mine in ways I could not put into words.

  • We were planning to redo the retaining wall behind our bookstore last year. One of our employees was eating lunch in the break room where the window faces the wall ( generally not an exciting view) and she came running to the front to say “We can’t redo the wall, there’s a bird nest in it.” Closer investigation did reveal a sparrow nest in the little pocket where the wall had buckled, hidden behind a sheaf of tall grass. Project on hold for 2 months until the wee birds had fledged!

  • Several years ago, when my two kids were toddlers, we had our house on the market to sell. We were often home during showings because it was not always a good time to take the kids out. One day, as were waiting for the realtor to arrive with his clients, a bird fell down our chimney into our fireplace. Thank goodness the cover was closed at the time! After a bit of panic (both the bird and me) the bird settled down and sat quietly on the logs. The realtor showed up and the whole time his clients were looking around I was on pins and needles hoping that no one would decide to give the fireplace a close look. Thank goodness they did not. They left never knowing the excitement that might have been. Whew!

  • My eyes were opened to the beauty of birds in southern Africa. When you go on safari, your head is filled with dreams of seeing the big cats, which don’t get me wrong, lions are amazing. But seeing a southern ground hornbill for the first time? Or a flying banana (yellow hornbill) or a flying chili (red hornbill)? Magical. (Oh, and the yarn to be had in South Africa? Highly recommended.)

  • My husband built an owl box several years ago and…finally…this year we were rewarded for our patience with a lovely owl family. We saw Papa owl first, faithfully sitting in a tree nearby, then finally Mama owl sticking her head out of the box at times. Then a few weeks later both mama and papa sitting in the tree keeping watch over the two sweetest (but kinda ugly) fuzzy headed babies cautiously sticking their heads out of the box, wondering if they should venture out or not. They are gone now, but what a show!

  • I was out in my backyard one day when I noticed a small goldfinch sitting on the thistle feeder. I slowly walked up to it and surprisingly it didn’t fly away. I kept getting closer and when I was practically next to it, I held out my finger underneath it’s belly and it hopped on. It was so cute and unexpected. I showed the bird on my finger and he couldn’t believe it either. I’ll remember that for a long, long time. So cute….

  • When I was in college one summer, a very aggressive bird ( in memory a red-wing blackbird, but that could be wrong), nested in a tree beside the sidewalk between my dorm and class. It would dive bomb passing students, and a couple of us ended up with actual scratches on our heads. For a couple weeks you could see groups of students get to this particular bock and start running with books clutched over their heads.

  • We have lots of hummingbirds here. I see them daily year-round. When I told this to a friend who also lives in the area, she said,”even in the winter?” I replied that they have to eat daily regardless of the weather. It was a “duh” moment for her.

  • Every spring/summer it’s a battle with the lovey-dovey Doves who think the perfect perch for a nest is on one of our back door lights. This year we invited a pair of plastic owls with creepy eyes from the Far East to discourage this construction and despite one or two attempts, the carriage light platforms are nest-free.
    HOWEVER, it’s been a spring of territorial in-fighting amongst the species in the backyard. The Robins own it, but the Cardinals and Black Birds have made incursions.
    Now, when the Doves build nests, they are totally into new material- every single attempt- and if one gets behind in the the dismantling and clean-up, the pile becomes daunting.
    But, the Robins are recyclers! Who knew? Their first few attempts on a downspout support (like every 30 minutes until I could see I was only wearing myself out) I merely knocked the building material off the drain pipe. As the day progressed, I did sweep up the gleanings and moved them into a pile a slight distance from the building sight only to discover that Robin was using the swept pile for his next attempt. We do have eco-conscious birds here in northern Virginia.

  • When I was in tenth grade, I found an abandoned baby robin in a driveway. I believe the perpetrator was a cat, sitting nearby. Leaving the small bird was not an option, so I took it home, placed it in a souvenir robin nest, and put that in a box in my bedroom, naming him Dr. Zorba because his downy, flyaway feathers made him look like the character on Ben Casey. He would wake me up regularly through the night for food (mealworms). Eventually he developed full feathers and one day began flying around the room. I opened the window, and away he went. The end of the story is more remarkable. One year later, after a long winter, he returned to our backyard chirping and waiting for us to go out and feed him. When we did, he flapped his feathers and held his head back as baby birds do. That was the last time we saw him. It was as if he came back just to show us that he was fine.

  • Found a hurt robin the day my BFF was getting married and had to call the humane society to get someone to rescue it while getting ready for a wedding.

  • A small bird seemed stunned both from flying into a wall and the gathering crowd outside our classroom. Someone I soon discovered is the gentlest of men asked us to be quiet while he slowly bent down, encouraged the bird to get on his finger and placed the bird on a low branch from which it flew away.

  • We were on vacation in Mexico and were eating dinner on the outside patio at a restaurant. We were soon the envy of all the birds in the area and were swarmed by them…wanting our food droppings. There were so many we eventually had to move inside in fear of getting bird droppings in our food.

  • I love listening to the birds chirping in the spring time.

  • I don’t have a hummingbird feeder but we do have hummingbirds checking out the flowers in the backyard. When it is late summer my old fashion red bee balm have regular visits from the hummingbirds. One year I notice a hummingbird sitting very still near the bee balm. I don’t know what made me do this but I carefully offered a finger to the bird and I was shocked when it hopped onto my finger. I could feel the tiny toes gripping my finger and again careful moved the hummingbird closer to the bee balm and it leaned towards the bee balm to stick its beck into the red tube flower. It pulled its beck out and I moved to the next red tube. We made the whole circuit around the flower and it few off. The next day there was the hummingbird quietly perched near the bee balm and my young daughters were able to experience feeling a hummingbird gripping their little finger and “feeding” the bird at the bee balm. The next day there was no perching hummingbird. I think it must have been a very young bird and on the second day mama bird saw what was going on and gave it a good scolding.

  • As the birds migrated north this spring, a nesting pair of robins set up house in my flowering crab tree low enough for me to peak into the nest. It’s TWINS! And the robin’s eggs are the most luscious shade of blue. A sweater of that color would be a welcome addition to my spring attire.

  • I wish I could post a photo, taken by a friend today, of cardinal dad and mom birds with three chicks setting up fir dinner. Amazing shot, just off the patio. Beautiful earth!!

  • Knitters are such an interesting group of people! I’ve enjoyed reading the comments even though it has taken me away from my knitting! On \my block in San Francisco we have a mockingbird who has learned and loves to sing the car alarm sounds. Hearing it always gives me a grin.

  • While I was living in Alexandria VA, one day we came home to discover a flicker (a woodpecker) in the kitchen! We think it entered through the chimney… Surprised by us and trapped within the house, it flew from curtain rod to book shelf in the living room and back, avoiding our efforts to shoo it out the door. Finally we realized the best action was to leave the house with doors open, and let the bird find its own way out. Once we did that, it exited the door and all was quiet again. I still am amazed by the surprise visitor. Flickers are wonderful, beautiful birds! And they look amazingly large when zooming around over your head in an enclosed space! I’m sure it was more shaken by the experience than we were, but happily it all ended well for our surprise guest.

  • While growing up, my mother was licensed to rehabilitate birds of prey. There were always owls and falcons in large cages to accommodate flying birds in our backyard. There were also mice, lots of mice, to feed the birds.

  • I run an in-home string instrument repair and sales business. I had an instrument salesman visit unannounced two weeks ago. He didn’t shut my studio door behind him, and about 20 minutes into our conversation, we were surprised by a wren diving into my house. Fluttering all over my glass windows, it finally hid itself behind my tiny cabinet piano. With three kids, this door gets left open a LOT, and this was a first in our 10 years! Thankfully, I have an 11-year-old entomologist for a daughter, and she builds her own oversized nets. I sent the salesman to go bring in some demo instruments, and I managed to dig out the net from the garage, catch the bird and release it all before he came back inside with his $10K in instruments. I like to think I gave him a great story to tell for the next few shop visits.

  • I have a beautiful great horned owl who likes to sit on the porch railing. It’s under the porch roof and offers great cover while he (or she) watches for prey. I’ve taken pictures through the window and it seems completely unfazed by my appearance. S/he is also aloof to the cat who is half the size of the owl. I guess when you have a sharp beak and raptor claws and are a deadly, silent hunter a cat is no big deal. But kitty may end up as lunch. The cat is blissfully ignorant of this, but so far has remainded safe.

  • As a teenager, my family and I moved to Malaysia for my dad’s job. The ways in which our new home differed from the states was vast, but we found the local animals to be the most amusing. There were many types of birds, but what seemed to get the most attention were bird droppings since they were considered good luck! No need to run to the car wash after a splattering, but rather relish in your good fortune. This was such a popular idea that we often saw cars decorated with plastic decals of bird poop. This is just one of many fond memories I have from that time in my life. If you ever have a giveaway for lizard and snake stories, I would have much more to write about!

  • My husband was out of town on business and my 16 year old son and I were holding down the fort at home. We came home from grabbing dinner out and found a trail of feathers leading into my bedroom. Then we heard frantic fluttering. Apparently the cat had brought in a bird through her little cat door and thankfully it was still alive. I love birds outside but they freak me out flapping around in the house. So I handed my son a broom and shut him in the bedroom with the bird. After some struggles and many exclamations of “stupid bird won’t fly out the window“ he finally had her back out to her own tree filled home.

  • I accidentally let a bird into our house late one cold January evening. I was taking down my front door Christmas decorations. Unbeknownst to me, a small bird had sought refuge from the cold in my wreath and had gotten trapped inside when I snatched it off the door and laid it down on the dining room table. Later, when I lifted the wreath to take it to the closet, the bird was freed and as described in your article, everyone came running to help catch the bird, including the our cat. Fortunately, my husband remembered he had a fishing net in the garage and he was able to scoop it out of the air and release outside.

  • I used to work at an NPR affiliate, and one day children’s book author Maurice Sendak was a guest on one of the talk shows we produced. I was bringing him and his agent into our building when a bird flew into the large plate glass window before us and fell to the ground. Not really knowing what to say, I turned and said something like, “I hope that wasn’t a sign.”

  • We live in the city and are always pleased to see a passerby like a Rose-breasted Grosbeak during migration. Since I can bird by ear I would spend a lot of time trying to find it in the trees. When I finally found it the neighborhood children were thrilled to see a bird so different than the usual House Sparrows, American Robins, and European Starlings who frequent our feeders.

  • Years ago my sister woke me up one morning she says Honey, get down now and look out the window there is this HUGE bird outside. I woke up, looked outside and it was a Pheasant or a large turkey, just hopped the 4′ fence and went on it’s merry way. We live in the burbs so it is highly unusual to see wildlife like that.

  • Hubby saved a hawk from our deer netting. The hawk was trapped, and hubby (grew up on a farm) grabbed his work gloves, pulled the hawk out of the net without injuring it, brought it inside to take a photo of the hawk, then let released it into the wild! Wish I could attach a photo, because it’s kind of incredible.

  • For many years when my husband and I visited our kids and grandkids in London we would wait at Paddington Station to meet our son-in-law’s mother when she arrived via train. On one of those days, I was sitting quietly minding my own business when I felt a “plop” on my head. Turns out I was sitting under a wire on which a bird perched while it did its business. Fortunately the “damage” was to my hair and not to the beautiful wool project I was knitting.

  • When I was 6 we moved into a house with a bird feeder attached to the outside of one of the kitchen windows. My mother told me that the woman they bought from made her promise to feed the birds. My father thought it was silly but my brother and I loved filling the feeder and watching all the different birds come and go. The first time my Dad saw a cardinal peck on the window to let us know the feeder was empty he was hooked too! I’ve had a bird feeder almost every place I’ve lived!

  • We have the same issue as your warehouse at the food bank I run, which is in a high-ceilinged warehouse-style building. Every now and then we get a bird flying around, and of course worry about food hygiene. Same response too – garage door up, volunteers with brooms trying to herd the bird out the garage door. From my experience, herding birds is harder than herding cats.

  • We have a hummingbird feeder and a suet feeder positioned under the eave of our front porch that are visible from our living room window. The ruby throated and Anna hummers visit throughout the year. They perch on the branches of the adjacent star magnolia tree. Around the corner of the house is a trellis with an overgrown Golden Shower rose intertwined with Crimson Honeysuckle. I am loath to cut the plants back because the hummers visit so frequently both in the summer for the nectar and throughout the year to rest on the twigs and vines as they look for bugs. Earlier this spring I was tying up the peas in my raised bed and was surprised by one of the hummers as it buzzed in next to my head to poke it’s beak into one of pea blossoms!! Then it was off with a whizz. What a moment of joy and wonder!

  • As I was watering pots with new seedlings on my deck the other day a robin began to talk incessantly directly to me; landed on the railing next to me and then flew down to the bird bath which needed more water. He continued this dance until I turned, adjusted my sprayer and began to fill the bird bath. He splashed and splashed and dove under the steady stream coming from my hose as it filled the bird bath. It was my most amazing, personal interaction with a robin,

  • One day, walking home from the subway, there was a remarkable and unexpected torrential downpour, as in my underwear were wet and my shoes were full of water by the time I got home. I didn’t have an umbrella, and it was a residential area with nowhere to duck into, so there was nothing for it but to slog home. About two blocks from home, a poor little sparrow literally fell out of the sky at my feet. I wasn’t sure if he was hurt or just stunned, but I was carrying a bag of hand-me-down shirts from a friend, so even though I was getting wetter by the second, I plucked out one of the airier cotton shirts and used it to scoop up the bird. I hadn’t wanted to leave the bird on the sidewalk where our few neighborhood stray cats or dogs out for a walk might happen upon it. I then slipped the bundle into the top of the tote bag I was carrying the clothes in and hurried home. When there, I took out my phone and googled, and learned I ought to put the bird in a shoe box and give it time to gets its wits back and dry off. Thankfully—because I wouldn’t have thought of it—the internet also advised keeping the bird in a room with a door I should keep closed and means of exit to the outdoors. I took the little sparrow to our vestibule and patiently waited for it to decide whether it was hurt or okay to fly off. When the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started, I opened our front door and just waited. I knew the bird was feeling better when it pooped all over the cotton shirt I’d left it in inside of the box. A few moments passed, and the delicate little thing hopped up onto the side of the box, ruffled its feathers into place, and flew off without even a glance back at me, the women who had possibly saved its life.

  • Doesn’t it seem like an upper deck overlooking the ocean would be the perfect place to knit on a beautiful summer day? I thought so too! Lost in the reverie of the rhythm of the waves and the warmth of the sun, I paid no mind to the seagulls circling overhead. That is until in one fell swoop they made off with my sandwich. A sandwich is a small sacrifice…. But I’m sorry to say that on their return trip they also made away with a full skein of fabulously fancy and expensive ribbon yarn! Let’s just say that project was one for the birds!

  • When I was 9 months pregnant, I was home alone and a bird flew into our chimney. Gratefully there was a grate on the front but it wasn’t nailed into the mortar. I sat on the edge of my coffee table with the fireplace poker, holding the grate in place, until my husband came home and we were able to open the door to coax it outside. I was actually afraid that it was a bad omen.

  • My first (and only so far ) visit to Washington DC: A large bird flew over my shoulder in one practiced swoop and stole my sandwich from my hand. I think the pushcart sandwich vender paid them… My memory of the National Mall is forever tainted.

  • I live near the biggest park in San Diego, Balboa Park. Once apartment I lived in had very arcane parking policies for about a 1/4 mile around, so I frequently would get up early, move my car into the park parking lot nearest my apartment (i.e. not very near at all), go home to get ready for work, and then haul ass back to my car to move it out of the park before their parking restrictions set in at 8am. Once I was walking to my car via a path with hedges on either side, about 4′ tall, and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw someone coming up behind me through the trees, but when I turned to look there was no one there. It kept happening, and as that part of the park is very secluded I started feeling pretty jumpy – I was SURE there was someone, keeping pace with my walking pace, and stopping whenever I stopped, but I couldn’t catch them at it. I started walking vvvveeerrrryyyy sssslllloooowwwwllllyyy and watching sideways, and suddenly I SAW IT. There was definitely someone walking, now directly beside me on the other side of the hedge, also watching me sideways, stopping and holding very still when I stopped, starting again when I started again – it was a HUGE great blue heron, almost as tall as me, just its neck and head showing above the hedge. It was a relief…and then also creepy, because up close they look eerily like the dinosaurs they are, and also…WHY? Once the path let out into the parking lot it abandoned the…whatever it was doing, and didn’t follow me to my car.

    (Yes, this really happened. I also was subject to an intimidation campaign from a flock of feral peacocks that lived in my neighborhood, though in a different, much more rural town, but they never got quite this close!)

  • Several years ago we had a quail family living in our back yard. When it was time for the babies to leave home one parent lined the little ones along our patio roof and the other parent was on the fence. The one on the roof would encourage the babies to fly to the fence. They did this several times and then the babies flew away. It was such a great experience to observe!

  • There is a Cooper’s hawk that enjoys dining in the branches of my neighbor’s cottonwood tree, and will occasionally drop bits of his/her meal into my yard. After chasing my dog around the yard to try and get gross bird chunks away from him I now do a regular sweep to see if I can locate any legs, wings, heads, or other assorted pieces before my dog can find them.

  • A long time ago I had a mastectomy and reconstruction after a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately I often forget that I once had cancer (I’ve been cancer-free for 17 years – yay!) but I’ll always remember the day I was attacked by crows. I was two days home from the hospital, feeling very vulnerable and broken, still sore from my surgery. My husband and kids were out that morning and I decided go for a walk in the sunshine. I heard the squawking as soon as I stepped outside but didn’t think anything of it. It grew louder with every feeble step I took. I figured it was just crow Mamas protecting their nests. But by the time I made it across the street and two doors down, the screeching and dive bombing began, swooping and scratching my head with their claws. They could obviously spot wounded prey a mile away! They chased me, swooping – I swear they were laughing! – as I scurried back home as fast as I could. Fortunately the scratches on my scalp healed but my fear of crows has never really left me. 🙂

  • I used to have a pair of mourning doves that would make a nest in a flower box mounted outside my 2nd story bedroom window. They liked this spot because not only was it up high but there was a tree right in front of it which gave it a pretty good leafy cover. This occurred every spring for years. It was such a joy to see the babies hatch and grow. My cats needless to say liked the show too. Unfortunately the tree was way too close to the house and had to be cut down. The doves came back but after hopping around the flower box for awhile eventually chose another spot for their nest. I was outside once and one of the doves flew in front of me and hovered there vertically with their wings flapping madly for about 15 seconds. What a thrill! I thought he was saying hello but my girlfriend said he was probably just trying to chase me away from their nest. Ha, ha – burst my bubble! Nonetheless, it is still a a great memory.

  • On my first day at work many years ago, I went for a walk during my lunch hour, only to be pooped on my head by a pigeon. Should have known it was not a good sign!

    I left an earlier comment, much longer, about this but it looks like it was not saved, so this is my second try.

  • When I was about 12 years old I decided I wanted a parakeet. I saved my money and eventually had enough to go to the local Woolworths. I purchased the bird, a cage, and all other supplies. I went home and set everything up in my bedroom. Later, I went to my room to enjoy my bed. But, our cat had opened the cage and all that remained were a few blue feathers. Not a happy ending.

  • My husband and I have been adopted by two different flocks: he by bluejays and I by crows. Both types of avifauna are regular visitors to our house in Portland, stopping by for a chat, a check-in, or some seeds from time to time. That’s not unusual, no, but these birds made us theirs when we lived in New Mexico, too. It’s been 13 or 14 years now, and it’s lovely to have this connection to them. Sometimes, in a flight of fancy, we call our house The JayCrow House, following my family’s long English-rooted tradition of naming every single dwelling. The best part is, whenever we wing away from home individually or together, the flock(s) checks in with us in our temporary location. It sounds daffy, but it’s true. It provides such a nest of contentment to connect to and belong to nature in this way, knowing that our flocks are keeping sharp eyes out for us.

  • I have a bird feeder outside my window. When the bird feeder runs out of seed there is one particular bird that comes to the edge of the feeder and just looks at me – staring me down until I come out to refill it!

  • Her name is Louise. She’s a mallard that returns to our small Midwest suburban pond each spring to mate and brood her clutch. She comes to the patio door and taps with her beak to request meals of cracked corn and bird seed. She was grateful for the rescue of a fledgling that was caught in the pond skimmer two years ago. While she shares the yard with several dozen varieties and many many colors of bird, she remains the queen and matriarch here. Our spring doesn’t begin until Louise has made her arrival with the suitor of the season.

  • We had a favourite park we liked to walk in Calgary Alberta. It had grass, trees, water, and some lovely reeds at the water’s edge. But those reeds attracted Red-Winged Blackbirds. Once while walking we headed down close to the water, but obviously to close for the birds. One of them flew at my husband and those tiny claws and beak attacked my husband’s head. Pretty birds but vicious lirttle things when disturbed!

  • Crows often congregate in the tall trees around our back yard; they (mostly) tolerate our using the back yard but are very vocal when we annnoy them. Our front yard is graced by smaller birds who are quite fond of the berries in our deciduous hollies.

  • Crows often congregate in the tall trees around our backyard; they are quite vocal but (mostly) seem to tolerate our presence. Smaller birds are quite fond of the deciduous hollies in our front yard, for shelter and for snacking on berries.

    • I’m clearly behind in reading Snippets. Better late than never! And I thought my first post had inadvertently been deleted! It’s been a very long month….

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