Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Barn, Part 1: Avian Shanty

Our barn is large. To me, it feels oversized.
The former owners transformed one section into a basketball court. I think of it with hope. My children's hands are yet small for basketballs, but they should love this open stretch of concrete for bicycles and rollerblades. As their father has worked to repair/rebuild the basketball rims, he must also be thinking of the fun his children will have.
Should love, will have.
I speak in hope because we do not see much use of this court, for balls or wheels. Winged squatters have appropriated this sheltered expanse of air for an aviary. With convenient roosting beams and a shortage of predators, they have declared adverse possession, and set up several generations of nestkeeping. They have also dropped poo all over the smooth cement floor, with no thought given to free-throw lines or boundaries.

"No more!" declares the man of the house, and he scales impossibly high ladders to plug tiny holes in the eaves.
I imagine the birds circling outside the barn in confusion, like a weary shoppers who have lost their cars in a full lot. Like an alternative, hopeless Mary Lennox who never finds the secret gate, these birds fly up and down the roof's length, duck under the overhang and smack hard into solid wood. I smile at that picture.
At one time, I thought I liked birds, but husband dearest has fostered an ugly hatred for these Starlings. He has taught me that these pests are an invasive species, not at all native to North America. Being introduced to this continent several years after this house was built, I do not feel they have a right to live in our barn. They can have the trees if they insist on inhabiting this 6 acre patch of ground. (We planted 13 more trees last summer; let them roost in one of those. But they must leave our raspberries alone.)

I just hope the birds do not realize that I have lived here far less time than they. I hope their beaks are not equipped to create entrance holes. I hope my children can use this barn for their own recreation, not just BB gun practice.


  1. what a tedious job for corey....all the best to him...does corey have a bb gun? might come in handy with the starlings....just a thought...or maybe even a super soaker....that might just annoy them enough and get the rumours started...yeah, we don't hang out in that barn anymore, there's this crazy guy who just soaks...he won't give us a moment's rest...maybe there's some sort of rating system. all of sudden, your barn will go from a "5-Star-ling" barn to a "1-Star-ling" barn and the visitors won't want to frequent anymore....

  2. I have a water gun, BB gun, and a 12 gauge shotgun. I have found that the shot gun works best. Just can't use it when in the barn.
    killed two in one shot today... very nice

  3. This reminds me of my great grandmother who would use her bb gun to shoot crows, just because she hated crows, and she didn't want them scaring away the sweet small birds that she did want to see in the backyard.
    The barn sounds awesome though! Hope you can reclaim it and your kids can enjoy it!