ARTISTS AND BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Front Door Nursery"

birds and spiders
        If you think it’s noisy going to a Jazz game with 17,000 fans yelling to high heaven so their team will beat the odds, you should step out my back door at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. Birds, birds, and more birds, all singing a welcome to the new day. I love it! It’s Spring, and the birds love it. Male birds are displaying their colors, performance, and athletic abilities to interest the females. There’s a lot going on. You’ve gotta get out early and w a t c h.

         Remember, one week I wrote about a Say’s Phoebe, and then last week I wrote about bird nests? Well, I think some birds must read the Senior Sampler because a strange thing is happening at my front door, with a Phoebe and a bird nest. This Phoebe and his mate are desperately trying to build a nest on the narrow lintel above my front door. I can tell you what they use, because 60% has fallen to the cement below. Mud, more mud, grasses, weeds, rocks, and some spider webs.

         All winter we watched a male Phoebe in our yard and pasture, defending his territory for the spring breeding season. The female is finally here and I feel sure that the male read the Senior Sampler and thought . . . “Davis’ won’t mind a nest at their front door, and there’s shelter and food.” Well why not? We are sheltering Crevice Weaver spiders under our eaves. This is a spider that weaves a fancy web with a round hole in the center. When non suspecting insects come by, they get caught in the web. If this happens, the Crevice Weaver spider comes running out of his hole for lunch. Ummmm! Could be the Phoebes thought . . . “This would come in handy to feed our little family, and if the spider objects, we’ll eat him as well.”

         For the next few weeks, we will have the small inconvenience of sweeping in front of the doorway each morning. In exchange we will be able to see these beautiful flycatchers in the process of trying to make their nest and raise their young. My sister-in-law tells me that everyone should have a Crevice Weaver spider at their house. They are one of the good spiders. Isn’t Nature wonderful? It all works in order, and we get to watch it. We feel it a rare privilege to have these two birds turn our front door into a baby bird nursery.

         For more information about birds, spiders, or Red Cliffs Audubon Monthly Meetings and Field Trips call 435 673-0996.
Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. If you wish to read more of the Artists and Birds articles, they are listed below.

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