by Jerry Guarino
Tim and Sally
had finally found their dream home, four bedrooms,
four baths and a loft office with an upstairs
balcony, situated on a northwest harbor town with
a view of Mount Rainier. Even though they were
empty nesters, retirement meant they had lots of
room for visitors and family, especially the
seven grandchildren. And the house was new
construction, nothing to maintain or worry about
backyard meant just enough room for a small
garden, a 325-foot wooden deck and a hot tub,
tucked neatly under the second floor so you could
use it year-round, even in the rain or snow. On
the deck was a long teak wooden table, teak
chairs with cushions and a square fire pit for
winter warmth and roasting marshmallows with the
kids. Umbrellas of course, the rainy season lasts
about six months here, but that just made the
right touch for a garden to flourish.
The garden yielded fresh lettuce, tomatoes,
eggplants, zucchinis and raspberries. A small
patch for a basil plant meant fresh Italian
Caprese salad. That left a manageable 200 square
feet of lawn, easy to mow and for the toddlers to
play a small soccer game.
Tim loved wild life, especially birds and bunnies.
He dropped small carrots near the back fence and
watched bunnies come each night to eat. Soon,
there was a family of rabbits visiting from the
forest behind their house. Sally thought the
bunnies were leaving poop on the lawn, but Tim
didnt care because the grandchildren loved
seeing the bunnies. Tim just mulched the poop
into the lawn, a feature, not a bug.
He put up plastic, transparent bird feeders on
the living room window. Before long there were
dozens of small birds feeding there; Tim and
Sally could watch them from the living room.
Sparrows, robins, finches, wrens, warblers,
chickadees and many spotted Towhees. There was
even a large, blue Stellars Jay which
landed on the window feeders with a boom.
So, the birds and the bunnies made up their
peaceable kingdom, in their scenic backyard.
Until one day, Sally heard something scattering
in the walls while they were watching television.
Tim, theres something in the wall.
Mice, maybe a squirrel, maybe even a rat.
Sally, are you sure? I didnt hear it.
Mute the tv, then listen.
Sure enough, they both heard something pitter
pattering in the wall. They called in an
exterminator. He showed them mouse droppings in
the side of the house, next to the hot tub.
Maam, you could definitely have mice
in your walls. Ill set up a trap in your
crawl space and check back in a week.
What do you think is attracting them?
Well, I think the seeds scattered from your
bird feeders. I would take those off the house.
And fill up this crack on the side of the house
with spray in foam and some metal mesh. Thats
where they are coming in.
Tim was crestfallen, but reluctantly took down
the bird feeders. Sally filled the crack with
metal mesh and sprayed in the foam, which
expanded and hardened, sealing the hole.
Well, the next day two mice were caught in the
trap. Tim tossed them into double bags and into
the garbage. The sound of mice had stopped but
Sally was concerned about the mice having made
babies before they were caught. She scoured the
house looking for mouse droppings, unfortunately
finding some in the pantry. She went on a
Tim lost his favorite bird sanctuary, but he
still had the nightly bunny visits.
There was just one problem. The dozens of birds
that had been visiting for over a year were
suddenly out of food and were not happy, you
might even say they were angry.
They sat on the back fence staring at the window
where the bird feeders had been. Tim could no
longer leave his blinds open for fear of
antagonizing them. He couldnt enjoy a drink
at sunset on his deck because the birds were
waiting for him. His castle was becoming a prison.
Then things got worse.
Birds flew at great speed from the back fence on
to the window, pinging it with their beaks. After
a while, tiny chips were visible in the glass.
Tim feared that the Stellar Jay might come back
and that would mean a broken window for sure.
Tim, the birds are going to break our
I know Sally, but what can I do?
We could get a cat.
No, two of our grandchildren are deathly
allergic, they couldnt stay over.
Tim placed a
large poster of cats in fierce portraits on the
window. The birds stopped ramming the glass
window, but that created another problem.
They started attacking the bunnies when they came
over to eat. And they stole the carrots that Tim
would leave for the bunnies. So, Tim had to stop
feeding the bunnies too.
When the grandchildren came over, they looked for
the bunnies and the birds.
Papa, where are the birds and the bunnies?
On vacation, kids, on vacation.
Birds by Jerry Guarino
Copyright August, 2020 All Rights Reserved