The Saga of Nesting Birds
I love nature. I grew up in a suburban house in a rural town. I have loved nature all of my life. When we moved into a fairly crowded part of Austin, I soon realized that I was very blessed to a patio that is for the most part surrounded by trees. I got a bird feeder for my birthday, and the cats and I spend our days looking out at the squirrels, finches, and doves.
So yesterday I heard some chirping. Not odd. I wake up and open the patio door. There are constantly birds out there. They make a lot of noise. My husband and I often comment on how our home sounds like some sort of rain forest. But this chirping was different. It sounded like it was inside my house. Inside my laundry closet.
Now, we live in a middle of the rung apartment. We have a small washer and dryer stacked in a closet in our hallway. It’s nothing fancy, but it is the reason we rented the apartment. We were tired of hauling laundry back and forth. We’d been doing it since college.
Anyway, I heard the chirping inside my laundry closet. Impossible! I’m not in the habit of letting birds have sunflower seed tea parties in my home. I keep my patio door open, but I keep the screen closed. I dismissed the whole thing. I rationalized the odd emanations with a terse comment about thin walls.
Today, I came out of my bedroom after dressing to find my husband’s cat in my laundry closet. I knew something was up. My bird radar is fairly faulty, but she has run into the glass door enough that I know she is an expert in bird detection. I stood with the doors open for awhile. I heard more chirping. I started pulling out laundry detergent and dryer sheets and flattened boxes. Then I heard the fateful sound of small talons on metal.
I could only assume that it had flown into the dryer exhaust where it vents outside near the parking lot. It apparently fell down into the lint-filled abyss to rest in the elbow of my flexible dryer hose.
So, I went to the apartment office and asked them to send in the maintenance men. A few hours later they came in. I went back to my work, assuming that they would pull out the dryer and pluck a slightly scared but quiet bird out of my dryer.
Not the case. They gruffly wrestled around in the closet for a few minutes. Then whisked the dryer outside. I asked one of them what was going on. “It’s in the dryer,” he said in a tone reserved for damsels in distress coming to the realization that the babe-killing serial killer is closer than they think.
After a few moments, they shuffled back in. The same worker held his hands 3 or 4 inches apart. “That big.” He stood by the closet with his hands on his hips.
“Another one?” I asked. He nodded solemnly.
They marched out of the apartment and came back a few minuted later with a shop vac. I left them to their work. After twenty minutes, the whir of the vacuum died down. “There were two,” one said to me and left.
I thought my problem with the birds in my dryer was over. I put back my dryer sheets and boxes. I happily went to run, made dinner, and started this blog post. We were passively watching the primary results on CNN when I heard the chirping again. At first, my husband thought I was suffering from PTSD. Then, his cat stood at the closet doors with a hopeful look in her eyes. We knew something had to be done.
We unhooked the dryer house once again and spotted the tail feathers of a young fledgling. The workmen had blown a nest and two adult birds out, but I guess they left too soon. From the noises, we have surmised that there are at least two more up there.
We are now going after them with silicon meat tongs and a towel, but no luck yet. I do feel bad that I’ve claimed a tail feather.
WE JUST WANT TO HELP YOU BABY BIRDS!