About Those Christmas Lights

The jokes abound about leaving up the outdoor Christmas lights well into January. It’s always more fun to put them up than to take them down (says the woman who does neither).Β The outdoor lights are my husband’s thing.

That said, I had a vested interest in their removal this year after noticing a small deposit of bird droppings at the corner of the front steps just before Christmas. I looked up hoping to see a bird’s nest but alas, no nest in sight.

I got a jug of warm soapy water, rinsed the steps and carried on with my day.

A few days later the droppings were back, but still no sign of my feathered neighbor.

As luck would have it, we drove up the driveway around 5 pm one evening and I got out of the car to fetch some packages. In the process I startled a small red-breasted bird who is apparently sleeping on the edge of the extension cord used to hang the Christmas lights.

Bay Area House Finch

Possibly a house finch, common to the area, and probably male with the red breast

House finch under the eaves

House Finch under the eaves, December 28, 2018

My feathered guest leaves during the day, then returns at dusk for the night. He tucks his head toward the edge of the overhang, perched on the cord, and though it looks inhospitable to me, he’s clearly content. We replaced our Christmas lights several years ago with long-lasting, cool-to-the-touch LED’s so it’s not the heat that attracted him. Why he’s chosen this corner we’ll never know, but when the lights came down yesterday, the extension cord remained.

House finch under the eaves

Still visiting, January 2, 2019

It’s a lovely start to the new year and a softening of the inevitable melancholy that follows when both boys head back to university for another term. I’m immeasurably happy to see this little bird perched there each night, and hope he remains year round.

What’s new in your corner of the world?

Bay Area Birds

54 thoughts on “About Those Christmas Lights

  1. How cute is that! That is a sensible little fellow to make his dwelling in a house that cares for his comfort. We tend not to have outdoor lights in this part of the world as its still light until about 10 pm. I think we should do it in mid winter though……

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  2. Your home is clearly a haven for all and sundry. I love your little lodger!
    What’s new for me is that I’m playing the guitar again and going swimming. One advantage of having my boy leave for uni is that I get some 10-15 mins extra to myself every day. Happy new year!

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  3. How nice of you to give this little bird a perch! I hope you don’t mind cleaning up his leavings and that if he finds a mate to nest with in the spring, they build in your back yard! Happy new year, Alys.

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  4. How sweet is that! Everything knows the house to go to with the most warm hearts. Lights came down Jan. 1. I put up the porch lights and tree lights but am required to have help for the driveway. Got them down alone though. ;)))) Don’t tell. I used the dandelion plucker to push up on the cord to have it come off the hook. You are so kind to leave the extension cord for that sweet little fellow.

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  5. Oh my goodness, Alys! You definitely have a little friend who must be drawn to the peace in your home. πŸ™‚ I think it’s very sweet to think that something has made him feel safe and I, too, want to be as hospitable to these little creatures as I can. I’m glad it worked out and you didn’t have to make a choice about keeping all the lights up indefinitely! We are currently feeding a stray kitty and there’s something very heartwarming about knowing you’re a safe haven. I wonder how long your little bird will stay. So delightful!

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    • Hi Debra! I agree with you: it feels good to be a safe haven for the vulnerable critters of the world. I’m so glad you’re hosting a kitten and hope to hear more as time progresses. I’m glad we found a sensible compromise so that we could retain his safe perch and also get those lights packed up for another year. I hope you are doing well.

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  6. Alys, the columns of the front porch at our York home form a tiny square ledge on the inside corner of each side, facing our front door but invisible to anyone who isn’t standing on the third or fourth step of our staircase and looking through the transom windows. Some years ago Jeff pointed out to me that there was a fluffy bird settled in for the night on each tiny square. More nights than not, in the cold weather, they seem to be there. Their faces are always turned inward to the corner, so that I can’t see anything but a fluff of grayish-brown feathers and have no idea what kind of birds they are. But as you say, it’s a warm fuzzy feeling to see them there, as I still do frequently. I likely would never have noticed them, though, if Jeff hadn’t pointed them out to me. Re; your Christmas light visitor — I wonder if it’s a learned behavior that dates back to the days (or places) where older bulbs do make warmth?

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    • Thanks for commenting, Julia! There must be an extra sense of protection at the corners that make the birds feel safe. It’s also impervious to the wind and rain since it’s under the eaves and well protected. My feathered neighbor is back tonight. I check on him every day.

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  7. I’m obviously a big bird lover and I wish we lived in a more temperate location so I could see them year round! How wonderful that you can still enjoy your fine feathered friend after the lights have come down! Happy New Year Alys!

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    • Thank you, Sara. I love having birds in our midst. We get lots of visiting squirrels as well. It’s always a treat watching them.

      BTW, I’ve been having trouble commenting on your blog posts. I tried leaving a handful of comments last week, but nothing would load. Any chance that they got through?

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  8. Lovely Alys. You provided shelter for a feathered one. We have clear lights around the tree trunks and I try to persuade my good man to leave them on for weeks more. He takes them down when I am not watching…

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  9. Pingback: A Tale of Two Wrens – Gardening Nirvana

  10. hello sweets, I read your delightful news a bit ago but thought I’d respond the next morning…fast forward two weeks later…how can I not keep up?
    I’m happy you have a small and tender visitor to put a smile on your face this month. January is tricky isn’t it?
    I can’t imagine balancing on a cord with my eye’s closed and who know’s what birds dream off when they doze off. I’m sure they must right? Maybe they dream of sunny days and puffy clouds. Oh for a birds eye view of life when the notion takes you. I haven’t dream’t of flying for so long, but have had those sort of dreams. It’s odd at first, but then, WOW πŸ˜€
    Truth, my tree is still up…not a stitch of Christmas is put away. Just scrambling to finish up store stuff before we holiday. Miss you and your sweet face xo K

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