Monday, June 22, 2015

Empty Nest

My husband called me to come out to the garage one morning last week.  I put on some shoes and walked out.

He pointed to the top of the garage door lift.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a really large nest of some sort built right on top of the lift.  We both looked at each other trying to figure out what animal or bird could have built such a nest there.  It surely had been built over a 24-hour period.  There is no chance we could have missed seeing it for more than a day.  We always enter the house through the garage and this thing was rather large.

We close the garage door every evening when we bring in the bird feeders.  We close the garage door anytime we both are away.  How could this have been constructed so quickly?  And what in the world built it?  It was far too small for a squirrel and our flying squirrels always build their nests in cavities.  It seemed really big.  What could it be?

The nest covers most of the lift motor

 Some of the materials are weaved into the wiring

 Who could have put it there so quickly?

 Our questions were soon answered as a rather small sparrow flew in and quickly out of the garage as we stood there.  A sparrow?  Really?  We rarely see sparrows around here, yet this one had decided to build in our garage.

Now the question became what to do.  We decided that there was no way the sparrow could have laid any eggs.  She was still constructing the nest.  The nest simply could not stay there.  It was not a good place for the sparrow and certainly not a good place for us.  The lift is in the middle of the garage and we walk under it many times a day.

The little sparrow was furious and chirped at us with a loud voice.  We got out a stepladder and bucket.  My husband put on gloves and climbed up to remove the nest.  As we expected (and hoped) there were no eggs inside the nest.  He removed the nest and placed it gently in the bucket.  It was tedious work removing the last twigs and leaves that had been woven amongst the wiring.

What should we do with the nest?  The sparrow was watching from a nearby tree, chirping non-stop.  We decided to place the nest deep among the branches of a tall shrub close to the garage.  Had there been fledglings in the nest, the sparrow might have returned.  We had no idea whether or not she would return to any empty one.

 I spread the branches to get a picture of the nest.  With the branches back in place, the nest is obscured.

In the end, the sparrow decided she had had enough of us.  She did not use the nest in its new location and decided to build another.

But we kept the garage door closed the entire time for the next couple of days.

Just in case.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad your husband found the nest before there were any eggs. That really would have complicated things. Really great job getting that nest out of there and in a safe place. I think the sparrow made the right choice, though, building a new one elsewhere. Wonderful story!

KB said...

I, too, am super glad that your husband saw it before there were eggs. You two are so thoughtful with how carefully you moved it and placed it in a new spot. The sparrow has a good chance starting again with a new nest. Thanks for sharing this story!

Ms. A said...

WOW! She was a quick worker. So glad you found it and there were no eggs! Guess she didn't like your choice of real estate.

Cheryl said...

So pleased to read there were no eggs in the nest.
It is extremely large.....certainly fast movers your sparrows :))

Arkansas Patti said...

It was so thoughtful of you to try to preserve the nest but I guess with birds it is like in real estate--location, location. That was a great save and hopefully she got her next nest built in time.

The Bug said...

Birds are so funny sometimes :)

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I hate when we have to interfere with the birds at our house. Sometimes it is necessary. I once had to choose between the sparrows and the swallows. I chose the swallows.

Hopefully someone will use that nest.

Tara said...

do you suppose she's learned a lesson here? or will she pick another garage?

KGMom said...

Of course she was chirping at you...all that work, and with eggs ready to "drop." It's sort of like asking a pregnant woman who has gone through her nesting phase to hold it for another month.
That said these birds do like to nest in/near houses, so you are right to "redirect" her.

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, What a surprise to see the nest. Our daughter had a Starling build a nest in their bbq. I venture to say that they will be back every year. So good catching up with you!
Hugs, Noreen

Vicki Lane said...

Wrens often build nests on top of the speaker on our porch and are usually successful in hatching out a brood of NPR listeners.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my goodness. What a quick builder she is. I'm so glad you found the nest before it was inhabited. You did good....same thing I would have done.
I'm hoping *someone* will put that lovely nest to use.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

We have had similar nest builders on our front porch on too of the outdoor speakers. The first time it happened, we let the nest stay as there were already young burds in it. After that experience of cleaning the porch daiky, we out wiring about the speakers to prevent future nest builders. Then, we found this year that oersistent finches wanted to build a nest on the porch fan. You did well in relocating the nest.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Robin - yes, we were delighted there were no eggs

KB - She clearly gave some thought to using the nest. Then decided to move elsewhere

Ms A - we were totally surprised at how quickly the nest went up

Cheryl - we were surprised with the size of the nest compared to the size of the little sparrow. Perhaps she had trouble anchoring it.

Roadtripper - thanks for dropping by. Yes, swallows over sparrows any day

Tara - I do hope she didn't select another garage

Donna - Yep, I'd chatter and fuss too.

NanaNor - We could definitely not allow birds in the BBQ. We use it all the time, summer and winter.

Vicki - Always glad to find more and more NPR listeners, even if they are birds.

Suz - The sparrow did go to the nest several times but decided not to use it. No one else has claimed it.

Beatrice - On the fan? That's even worse than a garage door opener.