Spring is upon us and my young son wants to build a house for the two bluebirds that will soon return. We see them every year about this time, flitting among the trees, deciding where to nest, and complaining loudly about the mercurial weather. It can’t be easy returning to New Jersey after spending a winter in Daytona.
Building a home for bluebirds requires some thought and skill, two qualities I lack. My son tells me the house should be contained because bluebirds are “cavity nesters”. The hole must be small enough to prevent larger birds from taking over the home. There should be no perch to attract predators. This is the kind of stuff he has been learning in Cub Scouts.
From experience I also know that a good birdhouse should not be built with a driveway: too much shoveling. But a man cave might be nice.
Placement is also important. If I build a home outside our bedroom window the bluebirds will sing Chiree Chiree in the morning. It is hard to reach out of bed and punch a birdhouse. “Location, location, location!” I tell my son with authority like a bluebird real estate agent.
“Dad, I don’t think that will work,” he says looking at my handiwork. I have attached a shoebox to a tree. It is colored with blue crayon gables to look like an old Victorian. I think it looks pretty good. Apparently, so does the cat. Inside, she is watching intently, twitching her tail, ready to pounce through the glass.
“I think it should be made of wood so it doesn’t leak,” he tells me. He is probably right, but that means finding my tools. That’s OK. The Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is coming up; we have to mount wheels on a block of wood that we have artfully cut and race it down a long track. As I show him how to use a handsaw, I don’t mention the stone-and-two-birds analogy.
Now it’s finished and I don’t care what he says. Like spring, the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby has arrived and I, for one, am proud of our new wooden birdhouse. So what if it has wheels and a racing stripe?
By: John Christmann, is a freelance writer and all around good guy. He lives in Summit, NJ with his very tolerant wife and three children. His favorite color is plaid and he is afraid of machines and small dogs. You can check out his unique take on parenting at www.dadinthebox.com or fill up his inbox at email@example.com.