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May 23, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sigh in the Sky

Couple in a marsh. 1906. Andrew Lang The Yellow Fairy Book (USPD., artist life/Commons,

“You promised! I can’t live like this. Taking the first flight out.” (USPD/

To them, “being born in the sticks” isn’t a negative.

Amusing how people pay so much money to come anywhere close to an open air balcony such as theirs.

 Remember the hard working Yellow-Crowned Night Heron who was practically defoliating one of my crepe myrtles a few weeks ago as he eagerly constructed a bower for his young bride? 

Well, following his jet-speed flying trail one day, I located his nest sitting high up in a tree in a yard two blocks from here.

He had great taste (no wonder he found a mate): the yard looked like a floral tropical paradise with the nest barely visible snuggled among the dense oak tree branches.

Then we saw him  late one afternoon – alone – walking in the neighbor’s yard sprinkler system. Sort of head down. Moving as if heartbroken.

We found out why the next morning. Looked like a crime scene.

There, on the sidewalk under his nest – built to be a sturdy fortress – were several shattered eggs.

No wonder he couldn’t face going home. Unable to fend off robbers.

Had to be squirrels. 

Squirrel in a dress. 1944 (squirrel actor/entertainer in washington DC. by Nina Leen/Life Magazine (USPD., artist life/

“New to the neighborhood? Got any babes that can come out for dinner – I mean, to dinner?”(Believe it or not, this is a pet squirrel named Tommy that was a well known actor/entertainer Washington DC in 1944. Proof it’s true that there have always been squirrels in Washington. /USPD/

We spotted him – alone – here and there.

Figured his intended was so distressed she left him.

Now, all the other gals were taken. Can it get any sadder?

He became MIA. Probably too embarrassed to be seen.

But wait! Suddenly there were bits of plucked off sticks littering the backyard again.

Could it be? 

Late in the day, we spotted him evaluating crepe myrtle branches.

Was he being given a second chance? Where?

This time of year, Molly and I are used to suddenly having to make a run for it from attacks by over-protective cardinals, blue jays, and and assorted kamikaze bird parents.

But the squawked warning early last Wed morning – and the large dark body flinging itself off a pine branch seemed more dangerous than usual.

Then I realized it was our little heron – He was not only back, but had a lovely girlfriend sitting on a newly constructed nest. – this time in a towering pine tree with plenty of room between branches for wings to swoop in and perform defensive maneuvers.  

There may be squirrels, but with all the traffic on that block, they tend to cling to the old oak trees in between playing dodge ball with cars.

Couple by lake. 1905 (USPD., artist life, reprod of PD art/

“Fear not, Dear. I promise you the sun, the sky, and a squirrel free home!” (USPD/

A dedicated father and his sweet wife. (Night, Night. Hold on tight!)

Couldn’t ask for more charming storybook ending. (Just don’t park or linger under their tree.)

With luck, they’ll stick around.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Squirrel valentine. 1945. (USPD., artist life/

Word to the wise, kids: “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.”(USPD/


Leave a Comment
  1. Helen Devries / May 23 2022 7:05 am

    Glad to hear of a happy ending….


  2. Kate Crimmins / May 23 2022 7:10 am

    That must be a big nest! We had a local blue heron (which are unusual here) nest in a nearby nature preserve. Occasionally he’d come to my pond for a nosh and a swim. He was immense!


  3. pensitivity101 / May 23 2022 7:22 am

    How lovely!! We used to see swans making a nest and apparently it is not unusual for the first mating of a new pair to fail. It was heartbreaking watching two such young adults frantically trying to shore up their nest to protect it from rising water in the Lincolnshire drains. We saw the nest with it’s precious five eggs abandoned some weeks later. However, after a couple of months, a new nest was seen much higher up the bank and the pen was sitting on eggs. It’s a learning curve. Nature is so wonderful at times.


  4. SusanR / May 23 2022 9:56 am

    I love happy endings. I hope they are successful this time.


  5. Anne Mehrling / May 23 2022 12:22 pm

    What a delightful true story! Good luck, Herons.


  6. disperser / May 23 2022 2:01 pm

    Over the last few years, I’ve seen an increase in squirrels in the neighborhood and a corresponding increase in finding both destroyed nests and baby chicks dead in the drive and/or yard.

    I like squirrels (beautiful rats?) but don’t like seeing Cardinals and smaller birds suffer losses. Larger birds chase squirrels away (usually).

    Nature sure be cruel, but I wish the herons good fortune in raising their young.


  7. sustainabilitea / May 23 2022 5:40 pm

    I do like a happy ending. Nature can be cruel, that’s for sure. I like your take on living in the sticks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ally Bean / May 24 2022 8:09 am

    I lovely story with a happy ending. Charmed, I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Susie Lindau / May 24 2022 8:52 am

    They are a determined breed!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres / May 24 2022 4:27 pm

    Sometimes, it takes a while for a bird to figure out how things are supposed to be done. I always laugh when new mothers start “nesting” around the marinas. I once found a lovely blue egret or heron egg plopped right down in the middle of a dock — maybe mama didn’t have a nest yet, or she hadn’t figured out how to use it. Another time, a mallard laid three eggs on the welcome mat on the stern deck of a Grand Banks. See?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Curt Mekemson / May 27 2022 12:11 pm

    Always like a tale with a happy ending. May their babies live to a ripe old age. Good of you to sacrifice your crepe myrtle for the cause. As for the squirrels in Washington, admittedly, their behavior can be squirrelly. It’s the certified nuts that worry me the most, however.

    Liked by 1 person


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