Freeport backyard a bird watcher’s paradise

Posted July 12, 2013, at 5:34 a.m.
Last modified July 12, 2013, at 4:53 p.m.

FREEPORT, Maine — It seems every time I go out into my backyard I come across another songbird nest.

The first to move in were the robins, the subject of a Maine Frame photo essay a few weeks ago. They built a nest under the roof of my shed.

Apparently a pair of expecting phoebe parents figured the robins must know what they’re doing, so they built their nest under the same roof, just 6 feet away.

The location of the phoebes’ nest, just a couple inches below the plywood roof, made it impossible to get a camera overhead to photograph the five white eggs the size of jelly beans. Finally, it dawned on me to mount a mirror above the nest.

One morning while I was doing the dishes, a chipping sparrow caught my attention. I watched its unsuccessful attempt to pull threads from old strips of clothing I had used the previous year to hold up my tomato plants.

The next day I went into the garden and pulled out several strands of threads and laid them on the pole. Then I went inside and waited. Before I could finish my second cup of coffee, that same bird came back and quickly found the loose threads.

The chickadees nesting inside a birch tree were easy to identify but I had to find my old field guide before I knew I had solitary vireos nesting in a fir tree and hermit thrushes nesting on the ground under the pines.

I never did find out where that sparrow flew off with the threads from my old Carhartts, though.