George and I have sold five houses and, every time, we go through the same dance. We work like mad to make it more attractive to the (likely not as quirky as us) buyer. Once we put it on the market, we obsessively track every development. Each time someone looks at the house we gauge their interest. A quick look or long? Was there any feedback? What can we do to attract more buyers? When will we get an offer? And on and on.
Selling a house to a bird is much the same. We put up three birdhouses in during the third week in March. They sat empty and unwanted. Not even a nibble. We thought that perhaps we had put them up too late and missed the prime spring house rush
Until a week ago when all hell broke loose. Tree swallows showed the first interest. After much flying around (they are lovely acrobats) and musical gurgling conversations, they appeared to settle right in. It’s a largish house, so big enough for the swallows. Apparently another swallow thought so too, because once the first pair established itself, he started to show an interest. After an afternoon of warding off the dive-bombing interloper, the swallow pair left. And who should appear but a bluebird? He checked the box in and out and staked a claim. After some wing flapping atop the house, a female joined him. I put out mealworms hoping to entice them to stay. They were dried worms, not live ones, and the bluebirds were decidedly unimpressed. Fortunately, they overlooked my gaffe and after lots of going in and coming out, the female started gathering nest material. The male stood guard. He needed to, because the tree swallows still had an eye on the place, watching from a nearby dead tree. And so began the bidding war. The bluebirds and swallows have been squabbling for days.First one pair takes up residence, then the other. As of today, the bluebirds seem to have won. All this fuss and there’s a perfectly good empty nest box in our front yard. Apparently the neighborhood isn’t as attractive as the back yard.
In the meantime, our fox family absconded last week. Watching them had been such a treat. It turns out there were six kits and they had expanded their territory to include our yard.
The little alpha kit dragged a gray squirrel outside our front door one morning and enjoyed a good meal of squirrel head before exploring the other side of the house. We may have prompted their leaving by our nearby tractor activity, although it didn’t seem to faze them. Apparently, they often leave the birth den at this age and move to a different den with more territory. We miss them. I hope we’ll have a new litter there next year.