Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The little bird who could

(Dark-eyed junco nest on the right front tire of my Elantra)

This is my favorite time of year, primarily because migrant birds are returning, and breeding has begun.  Dark-eyed Juncos are now in the woods all around my house, males are singing, and their hormones are raging.  I parked our Elantra in the driveway yesterday and, this morning, a junco was building its nest on top of the right front tire.  The nest is comprised of long strands of dried grass.  I felt badly about it, but I can't let that car sit there for the next month while the bird finishes its nesting cycle.  So I drove to town, which obviously destroyed the starter nest (I have to actually say that the nest was destroyed, for the economists who might be reading this blog).
When I returned home I parked the car in the same place.  Within two hours, the bird was busy building a nest in the exact location on the tire again.  I promptly removed the material, hoping that this junco gets the message: you will not be successful building your nest on a car's wheel.

Usually any bird's nest that is disturbed early in the cycle, like this one was, is enough to cause the bird to change locations immediately.  Once the female is incubating, she will rarely abandon a nest unless it is completely destroyed.  So I was surprised that this bird, probably the female, tried to build in the same place, given that the first attempt was obliterated.

A few years ago, we had a pair of juncos build a nest on a ledge in our garage.  We normally keep the garage doors closed, so we kept trapping the birds inside.  I gave up, left the doors open, and they fledged several young.

Notice also, that the Korean Hyundai was parked next to the American Jeep.  The junco chose the Korean car over the American.  Could juncos be used by the American automotive industry to decide what the public will choose to buy in the future?  Could they be used to help us decide who the next Super Bowl winner will be?  Or American Idol?  Food for thought.

In the end, I wish her well.  May your babies grow and thrive----------elsewhere.