The Author

Bird Houses

I have an old pair of shoes in the garage that I use as my lawn mowing shoes. They are perfect for the job since they don’t easily show dirt, wear like iron, and, as slip-ons, can be put on and removed quickly. I keep them on a shelf just outside the door for quick retrieval.

Early one evening last week, I walked into the garage to begin the mowing ritual. When I reached for the shoes I saw a piece of grass sticking out of one of them. Thinking nothing of it – grass gets on your shoes when you mow – I started to slip it on. That’s when I discovered that there was more than a blade of grass in the shoe. There was more grass, leaves, and a few small sticks. Looking at the other shoe, the same stuffing was in it. It didn’t take me long to figure out that in the few days between mowings, some birds had decided that they needed those shoes more than I did. They had begun to build nests in my shoes.

I hope that you are comforted that I did not immediately pull the debris out without a second’s thought. I considered my options, which quickly narrowed to two. I could abandon the shoes to the new tenants, allowing them the opportunity to move in lock, stock, and barrel, taking up residence in a smelly hotel. This choice would require that I find new mowing shoes while sharing the garage with new tenants. Or, I could evict these feathered squatters, leave them to find other quarters, and move on with my job.

The decision wasn’t immediate, but it didn’t take me long. Birds have nests, foxes have holes, and I needed those shoes to mow my lawn. Besides, every yard, including mine, has trees with plenty of branches for nests. Blue skies and fresh breezes are a much nicer environment than a closed garage. I pulled out the nests.

I checked the shoes again yesterday. They had begun building nests once more. I confess a certain amount of admiration for their perseverance. Trouble is, they won’t win. Or at least, I don’t think they will. But you never can tell. They might just keep on seeking, knocking, building until I say, “Well done. You want it so much, you can have it.” Know what I mean?