Spring arrives with backyard surprises for us. It could be the discovery of eight baby skunks (phew!) or a blue-eyed fledging crow that left his nest before he was ready to fly. Yesterday, a hummingbird decided to build her nest on an electric cord in our garage.
A red hummingbird feeder hangs outside our kitchen window and it’s been popular with the iridescent birds for years. That, plus plenty of hummingbirds’ favorite plants keep them around all year long. But I have yet to spot any hummingbird nests…that is, until yesterday.
The last few mornings when I opened our garage door, a hummingbird whizzed in and out of the garage like a tiny jet. She flew up towards the ceiling, over the garage door and out again…over and over. I wondered what was going on. Lost? Looking for something? Frightened?
I couldn’t figure it out until yesterday when I saw her light for a nano-second on the electric cord dangling from our garage door motor. And then I saw it – the beginnings of her nest. YIKES! Not a good place to nest at all.
Luckily, I knew who to call since I heard Terry Masear, the hummingbird rescuer of more than 5,000 little darlings, speak at San Marino’s Huntington Gardens a few weeks ago. Terry helped me plan what to do since we can’t leave our garage door open for the next couple months for access and the nest was still in the early stages.
So I got to work. I removed the nesting material from the electrical cord and placed it in the Silver Sheen tall shrubs that line our driveway. Then I scurried around our yard collecting sticky spider-webs, which I stuck close to her nesting material in the shrubs. Neighbors donated lint from their clothes dryers to adorn the shrubs. I washed a load of towels to collect more fluffy lint. I climbed a ladder and hung a large red sign above the webs and lint hoping to guide her. Fingers crossed that she uses these materials to build an outside nest.
But the scientist in me wondered why would a hummingbird after all these years suddenly decide our garage was the right place to lay her precious eggs? I looked around and saw “RED”.
Hummingbirds are attracted to red – the bright color signals flowers and nectar. We had the inside of our garage painted white recently. And I realized all the red stuff that was on the shelves must have looked like the Garden of Eden to the little bird — red plastic storage bins, a dartboard box, a large “TEAM CARR” sign from our Rose Bowl Alzheimer’s walk, Jim’s red tennis bag, the bright orange box of Hefty bags…and the red emergency release cord for the garage door with a round red plastic handle that must look like a giant hanging flower.
Needless to say, our garage door is staying closed until our expectant hummingbird builds a new nest…with a little help from her extreme home makeover neighbors.