Thoughts & Essays

The Saga of the Birds

Awhile back I happened to notice that some sort of small, dark bird with a fairly annoying squawk had made a nest in the eaves over our bedroom window. I’d been hearing some noise in the mornings and I happened to glance out the window one morning and spotted the bird sitting up in the eaves. I figured, “Eh, whatever,” and ignored it.

Some time passed. One morning, I realized that the noises I’d been hearing weren’t, in fact, outside our window. They were, in fact, above our heads. And those bird noises had now been joined by baby bird noises.

Uh-oh, I thought

A brief investigation led me to discover that a small piece of board above our bedroom window, back up under the eaves, had been knocked out. Well, blown in or knocked in, more likely, since we never discovered a board on our porch. At any rate, the bird I thought had been nesting up in the eaves was actually nesting in the roof space directly above our bedroom.

Now, I live in an apartment, so this isn’t my problem. This problem belongs to the maintenance dudes. The fact that problems like this belong to the maintenance dudes and not me is one of many reasons why I am an apartment dweller and not a homeowner. Here’s the situation, though: Our maintenance dudes? Not exactly the cream of the crop, historically speaking.

I mean, they weren’t terrible. They weren’t accidentally wiring apartments up to explode or flood or anything like that. But my limited experience with these particular maintenance dudes had not impressed me. They took forever, and they often took two or three visits to actually fix something right. For example, we’d been trying to get the screen on our sliding door fixed right for, oh, eight years or so.

It had got to the point where if it was a repair I could make, I just made the repair rather than fuss with the maintenance dudes. I had basically given up on the maintenance dudes.

So, I stared up at the hole above my window, watching a bird hop in and out of it, and wondered exactly how likely it was that if I called maintenance, they’d just show up and board up the hole without evicting Mama Bird and her babies. What was the over-under on my boyfriend and I spending the next week or so listening to baby birds slowly, miserably starving to death in our ceiling?

I thought to myself, How long does it take birds to fledge and bugger off? A month? Six weeks? Maybe we’ll just ignore this little problem for a bit. It’s not like our maintenance dudes act with any sort of alacrity, after all. Figuring for that, if I gave Mama and her babies a month’s head start, then called maintenance, by the time they got around to anything, the babies would be safely gone.

Some time passed. Ignoring the bird problem was not working. The birds were making an ungodly mess of the porch. They were obnoxiously loud in the morning. Also, they were driving our cat, Earl, out of his damn mind. One afternoon I came home and discovered Earl stuck to the screen on our bedroom window. He was pretty happy to see me, so I suspect he was stuck there for awhile. Another morning Earl dove at the window and slammed into the screen, and I had visions of Earl knocking the screen completely out and plummeting to his death. Or at least plummeting to his expensive injuries.

Meanwhile, changes were afoot in the apartment complex. The apartment manager was fired and a new one hired. And the new one was promptly fired and another new apartment manager was hired. We were suddenly informed that there were going to be apartment inspections, but not what the inspections were for.

Did we have a new apartment manager with some ginger in their step who intended to set all things aright? The inspectors showed up, and it turned out that they were inspecting for repairs that needed to be made, that had never been made. Apparently, the last two apartment managers hadn’t been doing a great job there. It turned out that there were quite a lot of repairs around the complex that needed made.

No one said, but I rather suspect this is why two apartment managers were fired in rapid succession. This may also explain why I started seeing new maintenance guys wandering around, of late.

So, last week, maintenance showed up to check out the bird situation and I guess it takes quite a while for birds to fledge and bugger off, because they haven’t done it yet, despite it being like two months or something like that. Exterminator/remover people are in the process of being arranged, then repairs will be made.

I guess all’s well that ends well and whatnot, except I’m going to have an awful lot of bird crap to hose off the porch when it’s all said and done.

PS: Yes, we finally got our screen door fixed.

Featured Photo: This is a grackle, and I think this is the type of bird nesting in our roof. This, or something very similar. (Source & Licensing.)