Epic Fail

There is no failure except in no longer trying. ~Elbert Hubbard, American writer from Illinois

When is the “right time” for pulling the plug on an experiment?

I was so pleased with the job Severus and Shamrock were doing in keeping unwanted critters at bay that I returned to the store for a third fake snake (well, it was only a dollar).

Anyway, this one — a brilliant yellow beauty with a scarlet forked tongue — was intended for a new pot of red and white Begonias.

A hanging basket which had been targeted by some little mama bird as a potential nesting site.

The first time I noticed her, I promptly removed the sorry mess she’d started in my flowerpot. Don’t worry — it was only a conglomeration of twigs that she’d dug a hole in the soil for.

I figured that was enough to thwart her efforts, and she’d house-hunt elsewhere. To be on the safe side, I put Yellow Snake right into the pot.

Take that, Mama Bird!


Who’s afraid of a yellow snake?

Didn’t work. A day later, I peeped outside and saw Mama Bird perched right on top of Yellow Snake, using him as a limb to pad her nest!

A few days after that, I went outside to water the flowers when something skittered past my line of vision.

You guessed it — Mama Bird, still determined to nest in my Begonia.

Only this time, she’d succeeded.

I looked into the pot and found four little speckled eggs merrily occupying her masterpiece.

Now I’m looking at two weeks for the eggs to hatch and another two weeks (more or less) before the babes fly off, meaning my Begonia probably will be deader than a door nail by the time this nursery folds up.

I thought birds were scared of snakes, but maybe single-minded mama birds are different.

Maybe it’s the snake’s fault, being such a cheery color and all.

Or maybe I’m to blame, since I forgot to name Yellow Snake before giving him a job to do, and we all know how important our names are!

29 thoughts on “Epic Fail

  1. I wouldn’t call it a fail! What fun to watch the baby birds hatch and fly away, fly away. Mama bird bonded with your maternal spirit. AND BYE BYE Begonia.–Hello baby bird blog post. Put the water on to boil! Happy Belated 4th Debbiekins. (I am a little punchy after 4 days of non-stop fireworks….)

    • I know what you mean about the fireworks. Poor Dallas hates “Scary Scary, Boom-Boom” time, and we, too, have had more than our share. Thanks for looking on the bright side of the baby birdies!

  2. Just remember — the snake has to look like a snake to the bird. If the yellow snake doesn’t resemble a true predator, the bird may not care about it one whit. We look at it and think “snake,” but the bird may have looked at it and thought, “Yard art.”

    I learned this when a friend told me she always buys her protective snakes from places like the Museum of Natural Science, where they sell replicas of local snakes. I never would have thought of such a thing, but like you, I see a snake as a snake.

    • Ah, that must be it! Yellow Snake doesn’t LOOK like a real snake to this eagle-eyed Mama Bird — since when are birds able to distinguish colors?? And what a cool idea, buying a more realistic snake from a museum — I imagine your friend paid a whole lot more than a dollar for hers, tho! Perhaps this is yet another example of, You get what you pay for, ha!

  3. Oh gosh! I have this problem all the time. Birds are constantly nesting in the most undesirable places! Namely my gutters, which stops it from functioning properly. My friend couldn’t use her front door for months after she left and came back to birds nesting in her pots and door wreath! Time to love snakes, I say.

    • We had one nest under the eaves where the gutter bends toward the house. Thankfully, that mama bird hatched her crew, and as soon as they took off, I removed her home. I don’t think this is the same mama bird, but I have to applaud her diligence. Your friend had one in her door wreath? Golly, talk about brazen!!

  4. At least you lost the plant by providing a home for mama and her future little chirpers rather than to the shenanigans of squirrels; yes, that happened here.

    • Well, actually, I haven’t given up hopes for the Begonia, Suzi. I mean, there’s still a slim possibility it can survive, don’t you think? Even without a lot of water? If the temps don’t get too high, and all? Well, we’ll see. As for your squirrels, yes, those critters can certainly be pesky — at times like this, I’m glad my neighbor feeds them and keeps them in his yard!

  5. Haha! Lovely! I reckon this makes you the chicks’ godmother, you know… you shall have to give them a little christening party before they fly the nest… 😉

    • What a sweet idea! Godmother, huh? I like it! Don’t be horrified, but I couldn’t resist “sprinkling” my Begonia — just a wee bit, you understand — kind of like a gentle rain. Water shouldn’t hurt eggs, right??

  6. “I looked into the pot and found four little speckled eggs merrily occupying her masterpiece.”

    I think that’s AWESOME, Debbie! I know it may be frustrating about your Begonia, but it may come back to life after Mama Bird hatches her eggs. And just think, you’re supplying a wonderful space for “life” to happen 🙂

    Hope you had a faaabulous 4th of July holiday weekend, my friend! Have a super week!

    X to you and Dallas

    • Ron, you have a wonderfully optimistic outlook! Yes, I do hope I can save my Begonia. It’s one Domer and I picked out for Mother’s Day, so it holds a rather special significance. I’ve seen the “mess” bird-nurseries leave, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed my plant survives!

      Our Fourth was pretty much marred by rain, meaning an unusually large number of average Joes bought and shot off fireworks. The noise was crazy — poor Dallas is still trying to recover! Hope you enjoyed some much-needed time off for the holiday, though!

      Happy rest of your week, my friend! xo

  7. Maybe Mama Bird liked that handsome yellow fellow! Well I’m split here, I love flowers but now I’m certainly an avid bird supporter. I feed cardinals, doves, pigeons, robins, and a one-legged blackbird. I had this happen to me also in that a mother bird was intent on nesting in a hanging strawberry plant. She eventually won, the strawberry plant lived, but never produced a strawberry.

    • Sorry to hear about your strawberry plant, but I’m glad the bird family was okay. Hanging baskets seem to be a favorite nesting place around our house — those, and the downspouts for the gutters. I guess birds like safe-feeling homes, too … though I can’t see what feels safe about a basket being tossed to and fro in a thunderstorm!!

  8. We have this problem too! Birds have made a nest in the overhang by our front door and another family has made a nest above our patio. Neither were well constructed so every day I have to sweep away gobs of nest material. Also, the ones by the front door freak out every time the door is open and I’m convinced they are going to fly into the house at some point!

    • Oh, gee, now THAT would be a problem! Can you see yourself chasing a frightened bird around your home? I can only imagine the mess! This mama bird is very protective of her nest, and I want to get pictures of the hatchlings. We will see!

  9. Pingback: Made it, After All! | Musings by an ND Domer's Mom

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