Monday, March 7, 2011

A Desert Bird in the Northern Forest

Rock Wren Jan 5, 2008 g Rock Wren by Gusto! 1-5-2008 Corona de Tucson, AZ
Once there was a little bird who lived in the desert. Her life was sunshine and cactus, flowers and birds. It was a happy place, and this little bird loved it there. She would bounce on her little Rock Wren legs and trill her happy Rock Wren whistle. She lived in her desert home with her husband bird and once in awhile her little grandson bird came for a visit. Then the Gramma bird would show him all the wonders of the desert, and bake him seed cakes, and read him stories. All was right with the world and words could not express her happiness. But then one day the husband bird came home from work and told her that his job was being transferred to the Great Northern Forest. The little bird was sad to leave all her Desert Bird Friends, but at the same time, she thought it would be a Great Adventure. Besides, didn’t her family and her other grandchildren live in the Great Northern Forest? So, the little bird and her husband bird packed up their stuff, said good-bye to their little grandson, and flew to the Great Northern Forest.
When the Little Desert Birds arrived in the Forest the first thing they needed to do was find a place to live. The Husband Bird did not want it to be too far from work because he knew a flight in the snows of winter could be dangerous. Through a mutual friend the Little Bird heard of a nest available in a three nest tree called the Tall Tree Apartments. The husband bird and the little bird went for an inspection. Though it was a bit older tree with outdated d├ęcor, the little bird was happy that it had a sun porch and a fireplace to keep her warm and cozy on those cold winter nights. It was only a short distance to the Husband Bird’s job and located in a very nice section of the forest with quaint old homes and huge Bird Mansions. A quiet river flowed through this section of the forest and large, stately trees lined the paths. They decided to take it and they signed the lease.
Moving day came quickly and the little birds were busy unpacking and trying to settle in. The desert birds had met the upstairs neighbors. One was a quiet old Bachelor Bird who was kind and good. He was a pleasant sort of fellow with soft gray plumage. His nest was above the Desert Birds in the back, while in the front a pair of Starlings had set up residence. The Starlings seemed like decent folks until the day came for the Desert Birds to hang their bird phone line. Then the male starling got angry with the Bird Line Technician. He thought he owned the tree and the lines and he did not want the Line Technician to touch “his” phone lines! So, he flew at him squawking and pecking. Such vulgar words came from his beak in such a loud and angry manner. The Husband Bird was gone and the poor Little Desert Bird knew not what to do. She had never seen anyone get so loud and vulgar before. She wanted to call the Landlord Bird or the Crow Squad but, her husband told her not to. And so she stayed inside her nest until it was time for her to examine the work that was done. When she went outside the nest hole the Starling was waiting for her. “I’ve never been talked to like that before,” he said, pointing at the Line Technician and waiting expectantly for her sympathy. But the Desert Bird did not agree with the Starling and she certainly did not want to get into an argument with him. So she hurried past with barely a twitter and went safely into her nest.
However, the male Starling was angry that the little bird did not talk to him or acknowledge him. He decided to lay in wait for her, and so he did. He waited and waited and waited. He rolled his bundle of nesting material right up to the door of their nest hole so they could not easily get out. The husband bird thought it was odd, but the little desert bird thought it was perhaps an accident. She did not believe the Starling did it on purpose. Then one day the Starling started banging on the outside of their nest hole. The Husband Bird went to the door to inquire what the starling wanted. The scraggly black Starling puffed himself up and said, “Where’s your wife? I tried to talk to her all day! Your wife dismissed me the other day when she was outside! If you are going to jack with me, I am going to jack with you!” And he got louder with every chirp!
The poor little Desert Bird sat trembling inside her nest hole. She did not know he was even so angry with her and she was now terrified that the mean old Starling would not only be upset with her but that he would threaten to harm her. She called the Landlord Bird and he talked to the Starling and all settled down for a few weeks. The Desert Birds tried to be friendly to the pair of Starlings, and while the female bird would smile and say “Hi” when they saw her outside, the male bird just grunted and flew away.
Autumn was upon them now and the little Desert Bird enjoyed the changing of the leaves and the coolness in the air. She took numerous trips to visit family and friends in other parts of the forest. She visited the Nomad Birds who travel around the country visiting new places all the times. A sort of peace settled on the forest and the Tall Tree Apartments until one day just before the Feast of the Autumn Harvest.
That day the little Desert Bird spent all day in the forest gathering seeds and nuts for her Harvest Feast. She was so excited because the one of her grown chicks was coming to visit along with his nestlings and his prospective new nest partner. With her little basket full of seeds, berries and grubs the little desert bird flew home and entered her nest hole. Suddenly she heard terrible screeching and banging! The Starlings over her head were going at each other with such force that the poor Desert Bird feared the male starling would break the neck of the female Starling. She sat trembling and wondering what to do. Just as she was about to call the Crow Squad to come, for they are the Defenders of the Forest,  she saw the female Starling fly away from the Tall Tree Apartments. Instead, she called the Landlord Bird to let him know what was going on. The Landlord Bird said he would have a word with the male Starling and try to settle him down, but within 3 minutes of her hanging up her tree phone she heard terrible pounding as the Starling raced down the tree trunk and beat at her door. The little Desert Bird grabbed her tree phone and answered the door. The big black Starling spread his wings and blocked the door. He lowered his head and roared in his loudest bird voice, “You want to be making phone calls? You got something to say to me? That’s the last time you jack with me!” and he moved menacingly towards her.
The little Desert Bird slammed her door and frantically called the Crow Squad. Within 3 minutes they were there with their alarm caws ringing through the forest. They flew to the branch in front of the Starlings’ hole and pounded on his door and rang his tree bell but he did not answer and he would not answer or come down. Because the female Starling had left, the crows did not have the authority to enter his nest hole, but they told the little Desert Bird to fly to the Great oak Tree and seek relief from the Ravens and the Wise Old Owl. So, the next day the Desert Birds went to find the Great Oak Tree together. In the branches of the Great Oak they appealed to the Wise Old Owl for a protection order. While the Wise Old Owl listened sympathetically, he told them he could not grant it because the Starling had only threatened them 2 times. He had to threaten them one more time in order for the owl to grant them a Protection Order. That was how the law was written, and he must follow the law.
And so the Desert Birds went home. Their once peaceful little nest now became a place of terror. The little Desert Bird feared stepping out her door and encountering the angry Starling. The Starling continued to harass the Desert Birds. He played his bird music very loud and sang the vulgar words so loudly early on the morning of the Feast of Autumn Harvest that they could hear it in their nest below. It woke up the sleeping nestlings who were visiting and gave the parents a headache. He turned the bass up loudly so that the whole tree throbbed. He did his best to make life as miserable as possible for the two little Desert Birds. The two desert birds really started to miss their desert home and the peace and quiet they felt there. The little Rock Wren felt her bounce leaving her legs and her happy whistle was diminished.
rock wren g Rock Wren 1-5-2008 by Gusto!
How will this story end? Who knows? Will the Starling win in his Reign of Terror or will there be relief for the Desert Birds? Only time will tell, and those days have not passed yet.
(Note: Sorry I have not been around to visit everyone. Been busy painting my apartment and trying to catch up on a few things. Stuff is going on but I will try to get around and visit everyone soon. I hope to write a happy ending to this story one day.)


  1. Oh Kathie, I am so sorry the Starlings are bothering you. Hope this gets better. Maybe Mr Desert Bird will get transferred again and have to migrate back to the desert.

    I am OK where I'm parked, just waiting for Good Sam to find a nearby repair shop and send a tow truck.

  2. I can't believe the landlord has not exterminated the Starling. Will he allow you to break the lease and move somewhere else?

  3. Sorry to hear that story. Definitely not a welcoming homecoming to the east, is it?

  4. Oh, Kathie, I hear your story loud and clear. Massachusetts can be a toxic place to friendly desert birds. Please e-mail me. ~karen

  5. Poor little Desert Bird :(...I think we should get rid of that Starling once and for all!!!!!

  6. What a terrifying life for little Rock Wren. Mean & vindictive Starling! He'll get his. I'll follow-up to see if Rock Wren gets the bounce back in her legs & that happy whistle going again.
    Don't let that Starling hold you prisoner but, be careful!

  7. Gaelyn, I will have to come visit you and read all about your trials!

    Birding is fun, it is more complicated than that. But thank you for your concern. There is more of this story to tell. I still don't know how it will end.

    Sandy, only this one small part. I am still happy to be here and see family and forests and birds and the ocean!

    KaHolly, thank you. Will do.

    Dawn, I am not saying anything.

    Donna, I think my bounce is coming back with the sun! The little Rock Wren is getting stronger every day.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.