“If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.”
– Charles Lindberg
The first few days of May brought the umbrellas out for perhaps their final encore. Then as predicted the skies cleared to reveal the much anticipated Super Moon. Besides enjoying a Cinco de Mayo dinner that evening, nothing of a catastrophic nature occurred – no earthquakes or flooding.
As fog lifted last weekend, the days grew progressively warmer. The perfect weather conditions brought our annual visitors flocking (literally) to our front door. Arriving a few weeks earlier than last year, they were welcomed. As far as house guests go, they are easily entertained. First the parents showed up and their behavior indicated more family would soon follow.
So what is going on? A traditional ranch-style home with a porch across the front, a floral arrangement in a basket on the front door, a wooden storage bench and warm spring weather. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Okay, add one tiger-striped feral cat and a pair of house finches. Within a week, the kitty – now named Elsa – has moved into the box-bench (thanks to my husband, the building contractor, a cat door was installed). Dinner is served daily (by me).
Meanwhile at the other end of the porch, the birds (our spring guests mentioned above) have built a nest in the basket on the door. The proud parents are tending five tiny blue eggs. What next?
Abby (the gold dog) is none too pleased to share her porch, especially with an uninvited cat! Sorry girl, the kitty is here to stay but the birds will be on their way as the seasons change.
Why would birds choose a door for a nesting location? No decision was required – instinct ruled supreme. All day long the door opens and closes with our comings and goings, each time jolting and frightening the birds away. They sit patiently in a tree, watching and waiting for us to clear out. And don’t forget the UPS and Fed Ex deliveries. But nevertheless, even in the midst of all the commotion, this is their home. So why…?
House finches, gregarious by nature, are comfortable in close proximity to humans. Survival-wise this trait has its advantages including protection. Living on a busy porch would discourage most predators from coming close and harming the nestlings. Also, the finches’ home is sheltered from possible inclement weather.
So all is well as they await the little sounds of, “peep … peep … peep!”
Temperatures through next week are influenced by an onshore/offshore wind battle. Highs will range anywhere between the upper 70s to 90, with nights in the 50s. Summer is on the way!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.