(I’m a fan of simple stats–hit counts, sports stats, etc.–and I’ve just noticed that in June I did not break the 10 post mark for the first time since February 2004.  What an unproductive month.  I don’t even really think what I’m about to post is worth posting.  I’m hoping inspiration will hit on our 3-week Western Canadian Tour of Glory or perhaps once we’ve moved in August.)

We have a virginia creeper (or, apparently, Parthenocissus quinquefolia) growing on the back of our house.  The vine covers all of Olivia’s bedroom window and part of Madeline and Luke’s window.  It’s a beautiful plant and a great feature of the back yard.

In July of every year we’ve lived here, however, the creeper gets infested with some kind of bug.  If you walk near the plant when it’s infested, thousands of little tiny bugs jump out and rattle the leaves.  The infestation causes all the leaves to whither prematurely (but it doesn’t kill the plant), leaving us with a dead-looking plant hanging on the back of our house for much of the summer.  After our first summer, I got some pesticide options from a local person-in-the-know, possibly a horticulturalist, but I’ve never followed up on my plan to defeat the infestation.

This year, however, since we’re trying to sell, I don’t want to show the house with a withered vine, so I’m determined to deal with these bugs before they kill all the leaves.  So it’s a good thing that Dixie spotted a bird’s nest, including a mother and a couple of babies, inside the vine.

The nest is wedged between the virginia creeper and the screen on Olivia’s window, so we can get a pretty good view  from inside Olivia’s room.  I caught a bit of the action on video, but the nest is built quite high up in the window, so there isn’t a good angle to see the chicks.  But it’s still interesting.  Let’s watch:

I haven’t determined what sort of bird this is.

Unfortunately, this also puts a snag in my pesticiding plans.  How long do chicks take to fly-the-coop, as it were?  Is it safe to spray the area around the nest?

7 thoughts on “Nature!

  1. Toni

    Marc – you need to disassociate blogging with being productive. It seems to me you’ve had a month of very hard work in preparation for leaving, and that is reflected in the low blogging level.

  2. Jyl

    It depends on the type of bird you’ve got…robins fly the coop roughly 14-16 days after they’re born. I’m thinking it would be pretty much the same for other (smallish) birds in our area.

    As for spraying, it would depend on what you’re wanting to use. If it says to keep pets and children away from the sprayed area, I would vote that it’s not safe to spray near the nest.

  3. Marc

    Toni: you’re right. But it *has * been an unproductive month in terms of blogging. I’m ok with that, but it’s something I watch (that whole stats thing).

    Jyl: I guess I will be able to see when the nest is vacated. I just hope it’s *before* the infestation hits. Or maybe Momma Bird will feed all the bugs to the babies. Maybe an infestation will just be a feast to fatten them up.

  4. joanne

    Any chance that it is some type of swallow? I thought that I briefly caught a glimpse of a forked tail?

  5. Scott

    Try an insecticidal soap… There are other options that are friendly to vertebrates as well… you do not have to use the really nasty stuff if you do not want…
    You probably have some kind of Hemipteran… leaf hoppers

  6. Anonymous

    You could try spraying with cold soapy water – always worth trying first even if there are no birds.

  7. Pingback: The Eagle & Child: "A blogging tour de force!..." - Marc Vandersluys, The Eagle & Child

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