You have a basketball hoop on the garage. These days, with social distancing still a thing, you enjoy shooting baskets by yourself. You’re an old pro at this game. It’s unlikely that something 4-inches tall could block you. But that’s what’s happening. Your basket has a bird living under it. Every time you toss a shot, the bird pops out—like a cuckoo clock, although the bird’s a tiny “house wren,” not a cuckoo. On hikes in North Shore woodlands you’ve seen real cuckoos. The nearly footlong “yellow-billed” variety according to your field guide. None of them would want to live under a basket.
But a little wren would. It’s got a nest tucked below the hoop. You can see bits of straw. You can’t in good conscience shoot baskets without imagining the thundering shaking your shots cause. You look at the basketball sitting on your driveway. A little solo exercise would feel good for cabin fever during these Covid-19 stay-at-home days. Weather’s good. You want to play ball. But a wren has blocked you. It may not be a cuckoo. But that name is a good way to describe the situation you’re facing.
This column was adapted by Mike Lubow from his book: Wild Notes: Observations over time about birds and other fleeting things. Available on amazon.com.