It has taken me awhile to realize the importance of a simple Almendro (almond) tree living right outside my living room, kitchen, and bedroom windows. When I bought my house, the tree was rather small. It grew and encroached on my house and over-head wiring, so I cut it back. Too me, it was just a pain in the butt tree with leaves that fell constantly. It offered shade but I couldn't park my car under it for the iguana and bird droppings.
I have since come to realize the importance of that particular tree.
When I bought my house, I was immediate thrown into the turmoils of renovating. Everything was new to me, things like how to get supplies for the projects, how to even ask for what I needed not knowing Spanish, it was a daunting task. "Back then" at the hardware store, everything was behind the counter (for security reasons) and you had to ask for what you wanted. They might or might not have it. Needless to say, it was a challenge but suffice it to say, I was not as aware, as I have become to be, of my surroundings...
Back to my story.
The flock of "Zanates" (crow like black birds that oroginally came down from Nicaragua) were not much ever noticed until I was installing my fence as the final BIG($$) project. (In hide site, I would have done THAT, the security part, FIRST!) The welders worked under the shade of that tree and stored their equipment there as well. The bird droppings from during the night would cover EVERYTHING. They rigged up a long rope tied to a branch and extended it across, fastening it to the fence post. I would hang on this rope tied to the tree every evening, in a jumping fashion, to rattle the branches and scare off the birds from nesting there during the night. Did it work? At first. The Zanate bird is smart and quickly realized, I was no danger.
One year, it became so severe (the amount of birds in that tree), out of sheer frustration, I had every damn leaf and branch cut off the tree. I knew the tree would return and finally, my purpose was realized. No more bird do-do for my dogs to eat like candy snacks! Peace and quiet at last.
I had won, Finally, or so I thought.
This year, the branches and the big floppy leaves have returned and the birds returned, too. IN FULL FORCE, Flocks and Flocks! Promptly at 5:45 pm, they would start the gathering and chatter away, LOUDLY, until 6:20 pm when one would make a "thrilling" (twirl the r) sound and they all would shut up. Only if something would disturb them in the night would they even utter a peep. Great security for me. At sometime around daybreak, the "Fiestas de los Pajaros" (Bird Party, I call it) would begin again, IN FULL EARNEST. I tired squirting the water hose on them, raking a long pole through the branches to scare them. I even built a big leaf pile and ignited it just at the crucial moment when they had settled in. In know, that was mean but I got desperate. The smoke drove them away but not far. They returned soon after the smoke cleared. I was ready to cut the tree down and then I started listening to them and enjoying being a part of the sunset and sunrise celebration. Instead of getting frustrated in the mornings, I listened to their "music" and I was somehow transformed into being very happy to wake up alive aside them. So simple not to fight it.
It was when my friend, Peggy, came to visit that I was nervous about the birds being here at those precise hours EVERYDAY and their loud "noise". She witnessed it and wasn't too pleased with the wake-up call but came to enjoy it (I hope). One day, she came into the house from a walk on the beach at sunset and told me she saw ALL the black birds heading in the direction of my house, MY TREE. Like something out of a movie. The birds were passing many perfectly good Almendro trees to come roost in "my tree".
She was amazed.
I was amazed. Why me?
During the past week, the tree has been silent in the evening and mornings. The mass of birds are no longer coming daily to nest. It is nothing I did, I assure you. I gave up and gave in. I figured it out that THAT tree is their mating tree. I have birds ALL around my house ALL of the time. All kinds of birds. It is still like that here even though there is tons of construction. The birds are holding their ground, still. I have missed the happy churping in the evening when I am preparing the food for the dogs. I got used to it. I miss my wake-up call from the birds in the mornings that says to me to be happy to be alive and have another day.
Truly, I can hardly wait until the mating season is here again and they come back to "their tree".