Thursday, June 24, 2010

The junco

There's been a little junco hanging around my front door. Juncoes (juncos?) eat stuff off the ground, you won't see them too often at a birdfeeder, they pick seeds up off the ground. This little junco was hanging around the front door, sometimes actually under the house. I'd see it flying away when I came up to or out of the front door.

Then I noticed that it seemed to have a resting spot under a rock in a little embankment about ten feet from the doorway. A couple of times I saw it fly out of there, as if it were erupting from the ground. I looked but couldn't figure out which little indentation it was coming out of, there were several rocks sticking out and just enough space under them for a little bird to get itself out of the rain.

So I kept watching. I was curious which rock it was hiding under, and what it was doing there.

This morning I found out. I walked over there and the little bird flew out and I saw which rock it flew out from. I looked under that rock and there was a tiny nest with five tiny eggs in it.

I went back into my house and looked out the kitchen window, I could just make out the five little eggs, now that I knew what to look for, and where. The little junco was sitting on a low branch of a nearby baby spruce tree, her back to me, seemingly ignoring me.

I finished my chores and got my bike out to go meet the dogwalking ladies of the Harbour. I met them on the road heading into the woods and I told them the story of the little junco. Valerie likes to come in to my place to use my "throne"---she loves the little throne house I built last year. But I said that as long as the junco is nesting there, I can't have the dogs come in, so I was very sorry but she wouldn't be able to use the throne for awhile. She said that was OK.

When I got back from the dogwalk, I put my bike away and went indoors, not looking at the embankment where the nest is. But I went to the kitchen window and could not see the eggs. The junco was sitting on top of them, but she is so grey that I can't see her at all. Except when she turns her head, and I see the movement of her tiny yellow beak.

I have another close neighbour. Well, there are the squirrels of course, but this year they are not staying in the kitchen door shed where the antlers are. They obviously spent the winter there, but they are gone now. No, my neighbour is a little snake. He is brown, just over a foot long, and he lives under the house. On sunny days he comes out to sleep in the sun on the bedrock at my front door. Other times I see him slithering around the woodpile, or in the grass behind the house. But I am pretty sure he lives under the house. Not ten feet from the junco's nest.

I don't think this will end well.


Wisewebwoman said...

Oh this has the air of unwritten tragedy about it. How are you doing my friend?

20th Century Woman said...

The world is a risky place, for people and juncos. I read your real estate woes (I'm slowly catching up) and I sympathize. I do hope you find a house to buy. It is surprising that real estate prices are rising where you are; they are falling here. You sound a bit more cheerful, despite worrying about the junco. I'm sure the dogwalks are a help.

Annie said...

Well WWW, I'm keeping my head down and doing OK in spite of the world. In temporary retreat. Been reading your blog and it sounds like you're getting itchy feet? Love the Cara!

Annie said...

20CW, sometimes I think the Canadian economy is like a seesaw, when the west is up the east is down, and vicey versy. Probably same applies to real estate.

Yes the dogwalks help. Free therapy!

So far the junco is doing fine and she doesn't seem to mind my comings and goings. We'll see how it goes...

Barbara Anne said...

Sometimes the brutality of nature is too much in your face and you just have to do something! Is there any chance you can relocate the snake to some land far, far away?

Be good to you!