Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning

As the weather has fluctuated the past few weeks trying to decide if it wants to be sunny and beautiful or slam us back into the cold gray days of winter, I've alternately worked in the yard on nice days and in the house on icky days with the idea that it's time to clear out the old so that the new can be welcomed in.

So far I've cleared out 5 bags of clothes and shoes from my closet.  Half of the closet is empty, and even a drawer or two!  The lack of fullness feels good.  Now to purge out the rest of the house...

Today looks to be one of the nice days so I'll probably be venturing out soon.  In the meantime, I've been sitting at the kitchen table watching the Starlings in the old and badly weather-worn birdhouse as they flutter around bringing in new bits of grass, straw and long pine needles for their nest.  And as they work inside pulling soiled material out and dropping it from the openings to make their home all fresh and new.  I attempted to get a picture of their workings from my kitchen window.  This shot of one hopping from the birdhouse to another limb is the best I could do.

Generally, I'm not a big fan of Starlings.  In my part of the world they are a non-native trash bird introduced by a (maybe) well-meaning literary buff.  The story is, and I've not really checked the source, that someone fascinated by the writings of William Shakespeare thought that America needed to have all of the animals he wrote about and brought at least one mating pair to Central Park in New York City from England.  Starlings were one of those animals.  Now we have them everywhere and with no natural predators to keep the population in check they move in massive flocks destroying farm crops and habitat for native bird species.

I've seen them moving like a great black cloud across the sky.  I watched in combination of awe for the orchestrated movement of the entire flock and dismay that so many had amassed in one place. It is a beautiful sight to watch thousands of them swoop and move as one.  But it's also something that leaves a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach because of the devastation they leave behind. It's an odd combination of emotion to feel sadness and relief that the State Wildlife Department will soon be putting out poison grain to bring the population back under some level of control.

I guess it's the same dichotomy that makes me dislike the bird but still leave the birdhouse where they live pretty much year round in place.

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