Monday, April 4, 2011

Blue Bird Promises

Part of this story began last summer.  I returned from my deployment in Afghanistan last April and thus began the merry-go-round of farriers that made it impossible to ride the High Queen all last summer.  One balmy afternoon I got home from work, changed clothes, slipped on a pair of flip flops and walked out to the side pasture to give my two four footed babies a couple of carrots.

There is only one small section of fence that didn't have electric wire across it so I stood there and fed her majesty and Cowboy their carrots.  There was a rustling in the grass that I mostly ignored.  My property has a lot of spots where water collects thus a lot of toads. So thinking that I had disturbed a toad I stepped back from the fence only to stare in horror and jump further away as I realized that I had disturbed not a toad but a huge black snake.  I fully admit I screamed like a little girl and then whipped out my cellphone to track down my husband.

I knew my husband was somewhere close because his truck was home but his motorcycle was not. He ended up being down at the neighbors but told me he would come help me with the snake.  I immediately moved my totally oblivious horses to a different pasture then went to look for a big bucket and something to pick the snake up with.

Okay I know you're wondering why I wasn't looking for a gun, and truly if I had known then what I know now I would have. But back then I thought I was doing a good thing.  King snakes, the big black monster in the pasture eat not only hole digging rodents but poisonous snakes too. So I didn't want to kill something that would eat oooh Water Moccasins and Copperheads.

My husband came home and we attempted to convince the huge snake (The largest I have ever seen outside of a zoo) that it did indeed want to vacate the premisis.  The problem was we finally realized why the snake was there when I looked up to see  EEEEK another King snake attempting to crawl in to the Blue Bird box that was on the fence line. There were at least three babies in there that had attacted the snakes.

We fought off the snakes and made them slither way off in to the woods.  We went back in to the house our duty done. Don't read on if you get squeamish.  Unfortunately the bigger of the two snakes returned, got in to the box, ate one of the baby birds and smothered the others.  My husband and I destroyed the bird box and ran the snake off again.

So this year for Valentines day my husband bought me two cedar Blue Bird boxes.  A few weeks ago we put up the first box in an area that was better protected from snakes and we put in some snake deterents. Though after seeing the whole effect I was certain that our resident Blue Birds would not nest in the box because it was in a higher traffic area outside one of the pasture gates that leads in to my backyard.

But today my husband and I were taking a walk through the back pasture and I glanced at the box and saw what looked like a pine needle hanging out of the box.  Funny, I thought then approached the box.  It has a latch that lets you open the front of the box to look inside and sure enough there was part of nest in the box that had not been there the week before.  The Blue Birds had indeed decided to nest in the box.

Update:  A week or so later there are now three eggs in the completed nest. I haven't been able to photograph the parents, but I was able to get one of the eggs.

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