After a year of playing landlord to generations of starlings, I’ve finally given them their notice. The birds took up residence among the rafters of the unfinished back porch, and though I love birds these particular birds are no friends of mine. Because they leave the porch looking like this:
And, when their nests are full of tasty eggs, they attract gigantic black snakes that try to crawl up my house and scare me to death.
I thought the starling residence was going to be seasonal in that they’d make their nests, raise their young and leave. But that didn’t turn out to be the case as even in the dead of winter they are having a racaus party on my back porch and trashing it in the process. Time for an intervention.
I got some of the deer netting I’d used around my young trees, trimmed it to size, climbed on a ladder and began the long process of stapling it to the ceiling and rafters in an attempt to seal out the birds. Midway through I went into the well house to grab a wad of old netting I’d stashed there after removing it from some trees. It wasn’t until I was back on the porch that I noticed a suspiciously familiar dark shadow deep in the black netting.
Last summer I had a rangy stray cat appear around my well house. He was wearing a collar, but wouldn’t let me get close to him. Even though I put out food, he stayed skittish and one day disappeared. Shortly thereafter I noticed a smell of rotten flesh in the well house. I figured the cat had climbed into the roof of the structure, got hung up on his collar, and died. It stunk to high heaven, and I fully expected to find a feline skeleton if I ever dismantled the well house. After a few months the smell abated and I figured whatever it was had decomposed.
But, after today’s discovery I am revising my story to say that the source of the stink was this black snake who had the bad luck to twist his way deep into the pile of netting and die. It was a sad discovery, but part of me is relieved to have figured out the mystery.
I cut away the part of the netting that wasn’t covered in dessicated rotten snake guts and with it finished finished sealing off the starling apartments.