Marge (or Studley)

Well, I’ve been watching, and it’s a regular hormonathon out there. The birds are chasing tail all day long. I don’t know if they’re kissing up or beating up, but something’s up.

Not a penis though. We don’t have any ducks, geese, swans, or ostriches in the vicinity. Most everyone else of the nouveau-dinosaur persuasion around here has to make do with a cloaca–in fact, making doo is one of the things they do with it–and by all appearances, there are a lot of folks here wanting to get into a close cloacal position together and swap bird schmutz. It’s only third base, but that’s all the bases they got to work with. So tail is being chased. That’s the only thing being chaste.

Some are being chased away. Juncos are herding robins right into the cherry tree. Robins are bigger than juncos but they don’t seem too fierce. It’s probably the worms. Sometimes a spare junco drops out of the cherry and gets chased by another junco. From a distance I can’t tell if the spare is an object of desire or a rival. But they’re all busy staking out their little kingdoms and interlopers must be routed.

Last Year’s Windowson Baby

Not everyone is going to get lucky, I imagine. But everyone’s thinking about it. Those unable to defend their kingdoms are congregating at Phi Crappa and bragging about all the cloaca they get.

The suet feeder demonstrates the pecking order in this yard. Chickadees give way to juncos. Juncos acquiesce to song sparrows. Starlings rout those, and scrub jays and woodpeckers can dine unmolested. (Scrub jays will perforate anybody, and everyone knows it.) And for some reason they all step aside when the bushtits arrive. That’s because although bushtits are very small, they’re very plural. Nobody knows what to do about them. A perfectly sturdy junco will perch sullenly on a branch and watch the suet feeder turn into a fluffy bustle of tits, looking like a grumpy old fart on a park bench when kindergarten lets out.

Well, clearly it was time to put out the cleaned-up birdhouse for our resident chickadees, Marge and Studley Windowson. Marge and Studley have been rearing chilluns in that house for six years now. And as usual they did come to check it out.

But so did a pair of nuthatches.

Oh dear.

We do not know how that will go. The nuthatches seem a little more serious at this point. They’re pecking at the hole. Everyone wants to put their own stamp on a place. Person buys a mid-century ranch, and the first thing he does is swap out the garden gnomes for pink flamingos. Marge (or possibly Studley) is over in the crape myrtle scolding Studley (or possibly Marge). I told you we needed to put in an offer. We’re going to get aced out by Californians with cash.

It could go either way. The specs for a nuthatch house are the same as for a chickadee house. The birds are all of a size, and frequently associate together. In fact, nuthatches are said to be able to understand spoken Chickadee, if not speak it themselves. So for all we know the nuthatches found out about the place when the chickadees started talking about the old homestead. Loose beaks boost sneaks.

I’ll take what comes. Dave is very fond of the Windowsons and is wondering if he should nail up a new house in the same tree. We don’t know what kind of zoning applies. Could be too much density puts off both species. I’d be cool with the nuthatches. I can tell them apart.