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Garden growth, and some Anxiety

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

After we returned from our travels on Saturday and put away the groceries, I decided to do a little yard and garden inventory.

The first happy surprise was discovered by my husband:

Well, hello, babies! I thought we had killed off the ferns last year. Apparently not!


Fiddleheads are so dang cute!

The bleeding hearts are especially enchanting this early in the season, too.  Their leaves are almost silvery.

And the apple tree is starting to grow some baby leaves.

Now for the part of the story that involves some Major Anxiety on my part.  We put up a new birdhouse for chickadees last weekend.  We'd had chickadees nesting in an old birdhouse in that same spot the past two springs, but last year the old birdhouse self destructed at the end of the summer.  So, we went out and bought a house that's specifically designed for chickadees and put it up.  They thought it was lovely to have a new apartment, apparently, since the day after we put it up a pair of chickadees started going in and out.

I hadn't seen them for a day or two, though, so I decided to sneak a peek see if they were actually building a nest in there.  I opened up the side of the house a teensie bit.  Nestled in the bottom of the house was a sweet little pile of moss with little tufts of fluffy stuff on top.  I leaned in closer.  What was that fluffy pink stuff on top?  It sort of looks like cotton candy, but not quite...

Egad!  My chickadees found some fiberglass insulation somewhere and are using that as nesting material! Criminy - I really don't know what chickadee hosting etiquette calls for under these circumstances. Fiberglass insulation cannot possibly make healthy nesting material for naked little baby chickadees.  Ouch!  I broke some major taboos and actually picked some of the fiberglass material out of the nest and disposed of it.  I promptly brought out a collection of fluffy alternatives, including dryer lint, dog fur, and fuzzy yarn, all being things I've had chickadees use for nests in the past.

I don't want to keep disturbing the chickadees so don't want to open the box again, but yikes!  I sincerely hope they either a) decided I was too much of a threat and built a new nest out of something other than fiberglass elsewhere, or b) decided to pile a bunch of non-fiberglass fluff on top of that horrid itchy stuff. I shall have to watch over the next few days to see if they are still going in and out, preparing to lay some eggs in there.  Should I just have left them alone?  Removed the nest entirely?  I haven't the foggiest idea.

Note to self:  make sure fiberglass insulation is never exposed where critters can find it.  We had trouble when we first moved in with some naked feral cats who were getting into the basement through a small opening that was lined with fiberglass insulation.  It turns out that having fiberglass embedded in their skin causes cats to lose their fur.  Go figure.  We closed that space up long ago, though, and I'm not aware of any fiberglass insulation on our property that's exposed.  I shall have to do an inventory to confirm.  Somewhere in the neighborhood, though, there's still some enticing fuzzy Pink Panther fiberglass insulation available for the birds.  Ugh.


Ellen Rathbone April 13, 2010 at 3:15 PM  

These little birds can take a fair bit of disturbance before they abandon a nest, so don't fret too much. As for the insulation...I think you did the right thing. Put out an onion bag with doggie hair and stuff near the nest box and the birds might think they've hit the jackpot!

Woodswalker April 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

Thanks for taking such good care of the wildlife near your home.

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