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Fischer: What to do with the ‘bird’ house for soon-to-be empty-nesters?

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 27, 2022

Photo supplied

Jen Fischer

We collect birdhouses. As a Realtor, I thought it would be more economical than collecting people houses, but it has arrived at the point where this may no longer be true. Last weekend, we found a retired woodworker who custom builds birdhouses. These particular homes are intricately designed with the finest of detail. These are not simple A-frame cabins with an opening so tiny only a wasp can get through — these are serious homes. These are homes with delicate cut glass windows and fully framed stained-glass arches. Sophisticated dormers decorate the roof line protected by flashing peeking out from the individual roof tiles. Gutters and downspouts lead to extenders reaching away from the precise patio under a spacious covered deck. Tiny outdoor lights provide a path to multiple entrances, including a three-car garage, which opens and closes to accommodate food provisions for the birds. I could go on ad nauseam, which it appears I did; however, I will stop there. Needless to say, we have birds as a result.

The fact that I have somehow acquired a desire to birdwatch is most surprising to even myself. My nature is not to stop and smell the proverbial roses (or in this case, watch the less-than proverbial birds); however, I have become somewhat fascinated. Some of the songbirds have put a pretty hefty down payment on specific homes in the form of egg-laying. This generally happens in the spring. Some cute little bird, which I cannot yet identify, puts down some earnest money on one of these luxurious accommodations, brings some sweat equity to the table and closes on their dream home, after which they make immediate haste reproducing. In less than two weeks’ time, several tiny peeps are heard from above and one very territorial mama bird feeds, protects and teaches her nestlings on a fast track to independence. Three weeks later, they literally fly the coop and head out in search of their own adventures.

Although this process is extremely accelerated with birds (if the human gestational period were only two weeks, I would probably have had a brood as well), it has occurred to me that this cycle mimics homo sapiens. Earlier this week, the youngest of my fledglings received her wings in the form of an engagement ring. She is the last that will be leaving the nest. This will create an empty nest situation for us. We must now decide what to do with the generous-size “bird” house that some talented visionary built for the purpose of biped dwelling. Should I stay or should I go? The decision’s haunting me.

As we have learned from past experience, ample and comfortable lodging offering a liberal capacity can accommodate birds who have not quite mastered the art of flying and need to head back to the nest for a refresher course. Sometimes, it’s not even the junior bird’s incapacity to take wing. Perhaps a wing gets injured. The world is a dangerous place. More dangerous than it used to be. Not to mention, bird houses are not as abundant as they once were, nor are trees. As a result, we are seeing more birds coming back to the nest.

Fortunately, more bird houses are being built, upon every single branch of every type of tree that is available. Some of these digs are miniscule and tightly packed. Some are completed with no branch, tree or even post to settle upon, much like our Martin condominium we have mysteriously acquired to the thanks of Amazon and the auto-input credit card, making impulse purchases so quick and easy.

Many empty nesters do decide to downsize. They leave behind a like-new bird house, with an open floor plan, fully fenced and landscaped, perfect for the growing family, ready for immediate occupancy.

Recently, we have seen an upsurge in available bird houses on the market, just in time for nesting season.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.

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