Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sunbirds In Our Garden

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song – Maya Angelou
female sunbird

A little yellow bird flew into our garden in April and started building a nest on one of the beams of our pergola just above our mini fish pond. Day in and day out, it weaved together little twigs, dried leaves, pieces of hair and even plastic string (I wonder where it got that from!). Amazingly, the nest resembled one of the many wind chimes I have in the garden.

I found out from the internet that this little yellow bird was an Olive-backed Sunbird. In the day time it would fly away but would return to the nest in the evenings….somehow reversing in and would sit in there with its long beak sticking out. It didn’t seem afraid of humans so sometimes my hubby and I would go nearer to the nest to have a closer look.

bird in nest
Once in a while, another bird would come by. We researched the internet and found out that the female sunbird was yellow but the male sunbird was a little bigger and its upper body was blue. A few weeks later, we watched the little female sunbird collect more materials to put into the nest. We wondered if it was preparing to lay eggs…

We were quite sure that the nest had eggs because the mommy bird would be in the nest for longer periods of time each day. We tried to take a peek into the nest but it was too dark inside for us to see anything. One day we noticed the nest moving even when the mommy bird was not around. The eggs must have hatched! One or two days later we could hear little chirps coming from the nest. Mommy bird was really busy flying to and fro gathering food to pop into the nest.

One day I saw it!...the little beak of a baby bird sticking out of the nest, opened wide. Mommy bird kept bringing back food and even the daddy bird chipped in to feed the babies. This was really exciting….like watching a ‘Discovery Channel’ program right here in my own garden! I wondered when the little birds would begin to learn to fly…also a little worried because the nest was just above our pond…what if the baby bird fell into the water and became lunch for our carps?! (shudder)
baby bird
see the beak of the baby bird?

We went on a short two-night holiday. When we reached home, we were eager to see the progress of the baby birds… but to our dismay, the nest was empty. Oh no! Looks like we missed the ‘learning-to-fly’ part of the show! The sunbird family had flown away…I wonder if they will ever return?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Thing That Stinks

"It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it."~The Golden Girls


One morning I opened the front door of my house and before I could even step out onto the porch, I caught a whiff of something foul-smelling coming from my garden.

I remember when my son was born some 14 years ago, my husband decided that he would be a hands-on dad. He would change diapers, burp the baby, cuddle him and generally just couldn’t keep his eyes and hands off the little fella, except for feeding because I breastfed. He even woke up when the baby cried for milk in the middle of the night and often went to work zombie-like with bloodshot eyes. That lasted only for about 2 months.

Then it was, “Dear, didn’t the baby wake up for milk at all last night?” and I would retort, “Yes, twice, but you were fast asleep, snoring away!” Of course, he still helped out in other ways.

When my daughter was born 4 years later, my husband had already mastered the art of ‘Sleeping Soundly Through The Night No Matter What Happens’. He also developed a sudden allergy to dirty diapers and whenever the baby did something smelly (which was rather often!) he would yell for me, “Mooooommm! The diaper needs changing!” and then make gagging noises and turn green.

After the children became potty-trained, I thought my days of dealing with poo were finally over. I wouldn’t allow my children to have furry pets. “Who’ll clean up the mess?” I would ask.

Well, back to the stink coming from my garden…

I live in a neighbourhood where cats are the preferred household pet. One of these precious cats (I haven’t quite figured out which one yet) uses my garden as its personal toilet! How I wish cats would be kept on a leash and toilet-trained, like dogs. As I stepped into my beautifully-kept front lawn, there it was…a small heap of cat poo! This is the umpteenth time I have found poo in my garden....grr!

“That stooopid cat!” I fumed, “Just wait till I get my hands around its hairy little neck!” I grabbed my trowel and scooped up the stinking mess, then toss it over the fence to the tree in front of my house…recycle…the tree could use some fertilizer!

My cousin recommended a product that would keep cats away from the garden, so I went to the pet shop and bought a bottle of little green crystals which I had to sprinkle on the grass. Cost me RM 23…it had better work! The very next day, THERE IT WAS AGAIN…cat poo on my lawn! That cat was defying me! I tried lime juice but it only keeps the cat away for a few days. Right now I am spraying the grass with lime-scented air refreshener…I know! I know! It’s bad for the ozone layer…but it works! Perhaps somebody could come up with an invention to scare away cats? And no, not the barking sounds please…