Goodbye Mo and Landfill Birds

When will it end? We are down yet another Birch Point Beach pack member. Yesterday, Jan and Pete made the very difficult decision to put down their beloved golden retriever Mo, who had been very ill the last month. He will be greatly missed but I’m sure Sam and Jim have already welcomed him on the Rainbow Bridge. Now, please, please, please can we stop with all of this so I can write about something a little happier already?

And, in that light, there are black-capped chickadees living in a bird house attached to the side of the Carbeck Landfill. According to the birder of the house, that is very unusual. But this place has always been Bird Central. No cats allowed. And here are a few of our bird adventures over the years:

  • When Lizard Breath was about 18 months old, a blue jay decided to nest in the top of our apple tree. Baby Liz and her daddy watched day after day as the blue jays built the nest. Every day, they checked the mama blue jay’s eggs and later on the newly hatched birdies. Until grackles came along and ate them.
  • For years, robins nested on top of an outdoor light on the back of the landfill outside Lizard Breath’s bedroom. We were forbidden to use the adjacent door or even to sit outside in the vicinity of the nest. In the wee hours of one morning, the GG somehow figured out that a cat was after the newly fledged birdies and he got up, got dressed and went outside no less than three times to try to evict it. To no avail. One year, the robins didn’t come back and no birds have nested there since.
  • Then there are the woodpeckers that peck our metal fireplace chimney every spring. Several years in a row, a particularly persistent bird insisted on drilling away on the darn thing at sunrise every single blasted morning, waking up everybody in the house and a few of the neighbors too. Drrrrrrr. Drrrrrr. Small children were terrified of that noise until they saw through our spotting scope that it was just a very silly little bird.
  • And how could I forget Willow, a wild baby bird that was foisted upon us one time (yeah, I know). Willow was a “junk bird”, i.e., one of those birds that hang out picking at french fries in fast food parking lots. The GG fed her baby bird food and bonded with her (I do not know Willow’s true gender). She fledged during a trip to the UP (yeah, I know) but alas, after we returned home, her cage door was accidentally left open and she made an escape, never to return.

There are birdhouses tacked up all over the outside of the landfill here. Some of them are simple ones that the GG constructed with brownie girl scout troops. Others are fancier ones that we collected during a time when we were a little more into acquiring things than we are now that the landfill is, well, full. There is a riot of loud chirping going on all around the house as I write this and that indicates that we have no vacancies here! And right in the front birdhouse, above my garbage can, are black-capped chickadees!

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