Our home is on a lot that is slightly sloped. One enters the front and it is a ranch house, all on one floor. But there are stairs that go down to a fully finished basement and because of the slope, there are big windows in the back and a door that leads to the yard. My sewing studio is in the back, right by the window.

Some years ago we began hanging birdhouses from the underside of the deck and we are up to six (or seven, if one counts the two-story duplex as two units) and each summer we host families of sparrows, each of which raises usually three broods of little ones. I love watching the nest construction, the mating dance, the feeding, and ultimately the flying lessons.

This morning Joe came in from walking Blackberry to tell me, "We've had a disaster." The gray birdhouse was on the ground, and all of the nest material was strewn on the lawn. A close look revealed yarn bits, lots of feathers, snippets of cellophane, and batik, Kaffe and hand-dye fabric scraps, much of which had been plucked from offerings we had set out a month or so ago.

We didn't know what had happened to cause the house to fall, and certainly didn't know how the nest came out of the little door hole. The house had not come apart. We speculated that perhaps a narrow-armed creature (and we did not want to get more specific than that) had reached in, searching for eggs, and pulled the nest apart and out.

We were shocked. We were sad. We wondered what the sparrows were saying about us. We felt like slumlords. These birds are our closest neighbors; we provide not only housing, but several feeders and a bathing/beverage station. We try to run a full-service operation.

When he had a moment, Joe got the ladder, went out and rehung the gray house, and did a better job of it this time. He went to put the ladder back in the house and when he emerged moments later, Mr. Sparrow was on the perch and the lady of the house was inside redecorating. Back to Business As Usual.

We wondered if we should have stuffed the materials back in, but our favorite nature show had taught us that birds are far more particular about things than we would imagine, and decided to let well enough alone.

FEMA, Near Philadelphia, signing off.


Quiltdivajulie said…
How much fun to watch those guests in residence!
Strlady said…
Love the post title. So appropriate.
Gretchen said…
I love the title of this post too :) Fast and thorough recovery from a disaster--better service than the big FEMA.
Barbara Anne said…
Ah, the birdhouse residents have come to understand that you and Joe are trustworthy and have their best interests at heart so this pair felt comfortable moving back in promptly!

I, too, put out snippets of fabric and thread for the nest-builders in spring and autumn. It makes for interesting and cozy homes.

One spring we got to watch flying lessons that Mama Bird conducted on our picnic table around which we had put chairs. Brave babies were perched on chair backs and it appeared that Lesson 1 was fly to the table top. It was a hoot to watch these baby birds rocking back and forth on those chair backs as they got up their nerve to launch - just like small humans do!

You and Joe are WAY better than people's FEMA.

Karla said…
I love this post. What could have been a tragedy. Was not. I love the fact that the birds trust you guys so much to hang around and wait (pray?) that you and Joe would fix the situation. As for the narrow armed creature, maybe some mousetraps set about with a thin sheet of paper on top to protect the little feet. The trap snaps and scares the heck out of the dear things
Synthia said…
Such a sad story. Such a happy ending. Loved it!!
LizA. said…
Awww, poor little sparrow family. I've just acquired a lovely ceramic VW bus bird house but our only tree at are still too small to accomodate it......
suz said…
It never occurred to me to put stuff out for the birds until I saw a couple of barn sparrows take some cat hair after I had combed my old lady cat. I truly didn't expect that! Now I leave bits and bobs for them.