For those of you who are following my blog, you know that both domesticated and wild animals play a major role in our lives. They are our entertainment and we spend many happy hours watching turkeys, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, foxes, raccoons, etc. go about their daily lives plus we take in the odd stray cat who then provides us with four dependents. But it’s all good fun. Chuck’s love for animals knows no bounds, so it came as no surprise to me when he adopted a pigeon. I am not fond of birds, especially pigeons, but the matter was out of my hands.
It was the summer of 2015. Chuck discovered a pigeon in our back yard with a broken foot/leg and it couldn’t fly. Immediately his protective instincts kicked in. What if other animals – a cat, fox or whatever, found it and decided it would make a tasty snack. The bird was a sitting duck or should I say, pigeon. Chuck helped it crawl to the wood pile so it would be relatively safe from predators, but it still needed care in order to survive. Every day Chuck gave it bird food left over from the winter feeders plus water and every day he talked to the pigeon. (He soon became quite fluent in “pigeon”). We called her Molly.
Molly’s antics and her well-being soon became topics of conversation for us. Every day over coffee, I would ask Chuck what Molly knew that morning and apparently, they had quite long chats as Chuck always had lots to tell me. After a month or so, Molly was able to fly again. She would eat, fly away for a few hours but she always returned at night. (Molly had two bands on her legs so she obviously belonged to someone but Chuck, not wanting to know this information, made a point of not checking that out. His view was if she was a homing pigeon, her GPS was totally off.)
Summer turned into fall and when the cold weather arrived, Molly flew into the machine house where Chuck keeps his tractors and farm equipment. It appeared she wanted to take permanent residency there. We left the doors open so she could leave but Molly had no desire to venture back out into the great beyond. She seemed content with her new surroundings and she was staying put. I was not overly happy about this turn of events as pigeons crap a lot but Chuck was on Molly’s side, so Molly stayed. (I threw tarps over the tractors and equipment to try to minimize the damage I knew would surely result from having this tenant.)
Due to lack of exercise plus food constantly at hand, Molly started looking like a turkey. I said to Chuck, “That pigeon is getting fat. She hasn’t a neck anymore.” Naturally Chuck spoke up in Molly’s defence saying that she was just fluffing up her feathers, but I must have hit a nerve as Chuck decided that he might not be feeding her the proper food. Now the internet is a wonderful thing. Did you know it has a ton of information on pigeons? The correct diet was found, ‘premium’ pigeon food was ordered on Amazon and a delivery was made to our front door two days later.
After a very cozy, worry-free winter, Molly began to get restless. Spring was in the air and she began to get curious about the world beyond the machine house. She started to venture outside, first taking ten-minute flights once a day and then increasing both the length of time and the frequency. Chuck would leave the door open in the morning and Molly would come and go as she pleased. Each afternoon she would return for the day. At night the door was closed and all would continue as before.
It was at this time that I suggested to Chuck that Molly should have her own house as I had just cleaned poop off the floors, shelves, etc. (anything that wasn’t covered by tarps), in a two story 34’ x 60’ building and I wasn’t doing it again. It is truly amazing how well that bird’s constitution worked. Chuck now had a mission.
He immediately set to work to draw up plans for Molly’s house. Now Molly was downsizing drastically and that was a concern for Chuck but he would make up for that in other ways. Her house would have style. He located two long narrow windows which would let in lots of natural light and one small slider window that would be perfect for her arrivals and departures. All he needed to do was build a landing strip on either side of the window. Walls were erected, roof put on and shingled, windows and door installed. A new product at Home Depot was spotted – floor panels with Styrofoam attached to plywood. It would keep Molly’s wee feet warm in the winter. What a great idea! Material bought and installed. The building was painted. All that was left to do was to insulate and plywood the inside walls. Things were moving right along.
It was at this stage in construction that disappointment hit. One day Molly returned accompanied by a gentleman caller who Chuck quickly shooed out of his garage. No damned way was he having any of that nonsense. But you can’t stop love. Next day Molly flew out and we never saw her again. As Chuck put it, “A bird has to do, what a bird has to do.”
And what became of Molly’s house? Well, that summer, the grandkids used it as a play house and then from that winter onward it has been used to store snow tires and lawn furniture. But no matter what purpose or use this building serves, it will always be known as Molly’s House.