Update – After a couple of weeks with the pool cover on (mostly), the birds have vacated the tree. Seems they really only wanted a toilet after all.
Naahhh… WOO FREAKING HOO!
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you a ranty message from Disgruntled Pool Owners of Missouri vs. The European Starling!
Normally, I like birds. Flamingos, roseate spoonbills, eagles, doves, even pelicans have their charm. Well, maybe not; if you’re sitting on the beach when a flock of pelicans flies over, you might want to have an umbrella. But not starlings.
In 1890, in New York City, someone who wanted to have all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays released a bunch of starlings, among other birds, in Central Park. I hate him and want to desecrate his grave.
Remember the government stimulus checks everyone got a few years ago? I called them Dubya checks. With mine, I purchased several DVD sets of Looney Tunes and a 12×3-foot backyard pool. I don’t regret the DVDs in the least, but the pool is starting to get on my nerves.
First of all, whatever genius built this Fifties tract neighborhood made the backyards (mine, anyway) from fill, with a thin layer of topsoil over it. And the entire yard slants toward the house. The soil is disgustingly fertile and so far, everything I’ve planted grows like a maniac. The weeds do too, unfortunately.
Where to put the pool? I couldn’t put it on my patio, because it would be in the sun the entire day. I’d tried that already with a smaller, inflatable pool and it just wasn’t an ideal location. I don’t like hot pool water, or sunburns.
My neighbor to the west has a beautiful, tall linden tree in her yard, whose shadow cools the far south end of my yard during the afternoon. A perfect spot. A few leaves were no big deal. I attempted to dig out a large flat circle and level the yard a bit, to put the pool down. No dice. With all the rocks, I just couldn’t do that effectively. So the pool leans a bit. No biggie. I can deal. The water stays level, after all.
I have no outside outlet, so I have to run the pump off an extension cord. Also no biggie. I would just do that once a week and clean it with the net the rest of the time. Linden trees drop a ton of teeny tiny seed things in addition to leaves, but they aren’t difficult to scoop out before I settle into my floaty paradise. Even bugs aren’t a problem. They mostly stay on top and come right out with the leaves.
For two summers, I enjoyed floating in the shady coolness in my inflatable chair, a can of Arizona Green Tea stuck in the drink holder, or attempting to swim a little (the water only comes up to my thighs). I anticipated just such a relaxing time this year, and as soon as the weather warmed, up went the pool.
And then, they came. The starlings.
They like water. I knew this, but I didn’t know why. Now I do. They use my sparkling watery paradise as a toilet. They perch on the edge and blast their white, black and purple bombs right into my lovely, lovely pool.
I’ve swum in lakes, oceans, creeks and ponds. You expect a bit of poo in there. After all, living creatures use these bodies of water as their homes. But pools should not have poo in them. They should be pristine. They aren’t natural. They’re artificial constructs of chlorinated perfection, and bird poo is not welcome.
And if you have guests, it’s embarrassing.
These birds roost in the mulberry tree next to the pool. Unfortunately, it’s not in my yard, and I can’t cut it down. So I did the next best thing; I bought a cover. That’ll help, right?
Missouri. Is. WINDY. It starts in October and doesn’t let up until July, when the weather turns to hot, humid hell. Gasping, sweaty people flock to the city pools and their backyard oases, praying for a breeze that never comes. And the wind flutters the tree limbs, blows the linden flotsam across the grass and flips the pool cover right off. So everything on it, linden seeds, leaves, bugs, bird poo, runs right off and into the water.
I give up. Seriously. There is no way I can work all day and come home and deal with this disgusting mess. Stop using my pool as a toilet, birds. I’m going to Walmart and buying a BB gun. Gonna shoot into the tree and scare the little bastards away. Gonna buy some shiny Fourth of July streamers and hang them in the tree and freak their little bird minds. I don’t feel one bit sorry for them. I’d hire a bird removal company, but I can only pay them in cookies right now.
If you have any suggestions or a bird story of your own, please feel free to share in the comments. PLEASE. I’m taking applications for bird hitmen. I’m paying in chocolate chip and molasses drops this week.