The term “bird-brained” is an oxymoron; birds, at least those that I’ve encountered, are rather intelligent. Take, for instance, the robin who chose to make her nest atop a column on my porch. I would consider this a wise real estate investment. Not only is the nest protected from wind and rain, it is in full view of a protective bird-watcher. Once, when Mrs. Robin went off in search of worms, I spied a neighbor’s cat sitting beneath the column. He had murder on his mind. I opened the window and shooed him away. I can only assume that Mrs. Robin appreciated this act of kindness — after she returned, she let me photograph her charming brood.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you must provide within it food, water, and shelter. Small birds like to build their nests in evergreen hedges; the dense foliage offers verdant security. I’ve noticed that hundreds of tiny birds overwinter in the huge, spreading yew beside my house. Trees and shrubs, both deciduous and evergreen, afford nuts, berries and seeds, the basic staples of bird-cuisine. A pond, fountain or bird-bath is also inviting, but this water source must be near a tall shrub or tree. Then the birds can quickly escape from marauding cats.

I’ll admit that sometimes birds make ill-thought nesting decisions. A friend couldn’t use her front porch for several weeks one spring, because a robin chose to nest in a twiggy wreath suspended on her door. Another friend, in the midst of painting his house, said that sparrows made a nest overnight on the top step of the ladder he was using.

Are birds nesting in your garden, or in some strange place around your house?

Related Posts:
Evergreens for Privacy Screens
It’s Time To Cover The Berries


  1. Jed Swift says:

    Hi Kevin,

    We had a bird make a nest right above the concession area at the local pool. Every time a kid went to get an ice cream sundae the mother bird dive bombed them to tell them to get away. Now she seems to have adjusted to all of the kids being there. Your bird is lucky to have such a protective family watching out for her.

    Best, Jed

  2. Janet G. Metzger says:


    Grandma Metzger used to have birds nest on her porch columns as in your photo. Deja-vue!

    THanks for the tip about the evergreen screens. I will keep that in mind for next year. I am still working on herbs and vegetables.

    I went into Lowes and found all three flowers I wanted: African violet, white orchid, and rose. Did not buy them. Two days later all were gone. OK, they can be my end of the summer reward.


  3. Janet – I hope that you will tell us all about your herb and vegetable garden.

  4. Jed – mama birds will protect their babies ferociously! Glad that no one was hurt at your pool!

  5. Diane Roberts says:

    I had a young robin nest in my honeysuckle on my front porch…right beside a trellis, and we have coons in the ‘hood’…I tried to dissuade them, but they were determined to build a house there. The nest was low enough that I captured 2 pics, one egg; then two eggs, then NO eggs. In an old country songs Hank Williams Sr. asks “Have you ever seen a robin weep”? Yes, I have after her eggs disappeared she would sit on the edge of the nest and look all around for her eggs…I cried for her…Then, lo and behold, they tried to use the nest again this past Spring. I had to take it down, hated to as it was laced w/ pretty green “Easter grass”. I can send you pics if u like. xo

  6. Sylvia Neal says:

    About six years ago, I moved to a different location. The former house had wild roses, the type that cascade over the barbed wire, lining the horse pasture. They have tiny white blossoms and smell devine. Through the years, I had seen Mockingbirds nest in them, as they are loaded with thorns and I assume the birds like that for protection. I dug up a couple of small ones, and they lived in a milk crate for about two years before I got them planted. (terrible, I know). Well, they are huge now, clinging to a fence in their new place, and if I knew how, I would post a picture, because they are in bloom. The good news is that a Mockingbird couple is nesting in the biggest one, building a nest as I write this.

    Also, I have five, WELL-FED cats who live outside. It’s heartbreaking to have to bury a bluebird about once per year. It seems like it’s always a female, as they take longer to leave the ground. I am going to move the birdhouse to the other side of the pasture this year. The pole is covered with aluminum sheeting, so the cats can’t climb it, although the bottom shows evidence that they tried. I hung a gourd on the clothesline pole for smaller birds, but the bluebirds took it over also. I think the whole family of 6 or 7 pile into the gourd in the evening. I have video of that also. Wish there was a site to post our “yard pics”. 🙂

  7. I use to work the graveyard shift and I’d get home about 7am. I kept the bird feed in the back of my SUV so I’d feed them like feeding chickens before I’d go in the house. They’d be waiting for me. A Blue Jay would dive boom the car and a Cardinal would hang on a tree limb next to my car window to peep in, both wanting me to hurry and get out. Sometimes I’d be waiting for a radio program to finish first; Well one morning I got off work and from a distance across the parking lot I could tell there something on my car hood close to the windshield. It was a bird nest with 2 eggs. I couldn’t image that it happened at work – downtown, no trees per se. When I arrived home there was an impatient dove pacing back and forth – like where is she. I went in the house then peeped out and she was sitting on the nest. Next work night/day, had 3 eggs. I tried to transfer the nest without touching with my hands, but she wouldn’t visit my nest. I was hurt and fussing at her for weaving a nest into the ventilation beneath my windshield. I guess she thought that white SUV’s got to be a good place, food comes out of there and she’ll take care of them. WOW! What a bird.

  8. Wow, Faye. What an amazing story! But you’re right — the dove thought your SUV was great real estate, with food so close by!

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