The Life of a Birdhouse

So many people wonder if birds actually use me as a home for their featherless fledglings. I am here to tell you that birds do and I can honestly say I love each little egg that is laid in me each year. If you haven’t already guessed, I am a birdhouse. Not just your regular birdhouse but a gourd birdhouse grown and crafted on a small farm in Central Pennsylvania in a little town called Carlisle.

Let me start from the beginning. I started as a seed that was planted several years ago in the greenhouse during the month of May. That seed grew into a seedling and was watered regularly. In June, that little seedling I would grow from was pulled out of the greenhouse, put onto a wagon and was transplanted into the ground so it could continue to stretch and grow. I belong to the goose neck gourd family and there were six other gourds besides myself on our “home” plant. All summer long, I grew until it started to get cold. One night in October I remember was very cold and all the vines died. The cold days became more frequent so I knew it was time for the next step which was to dry, become hard, moldy and scale. In the spring, I was brought in to the gourd storage area and waited until I became a birdhouse.

Once crafted and dyed, I was put in the retail store at the farm to be sold. A very nice lady and her husband from Carlisle bought me and hung me out in their beautiful backyard. Not soon afterwards, a brown sparrow showed up but the hole was too small and she moved on to another home. A few days later, a petite wren arrived and I guess I was just right because she quickly began to move the seeds and dried pulp left inside of me around. She added some twigs, feathers and soft thread that she must have found out and about. About a week later, she laid 3 of the most beautiful little eggs in her new nest. She sat on her eggs day and night only occasionally leaving to get something to eat or stretch her wings.

I can remember the morning that I first started hearing a small pecking of the egg shell and by the end of the day, three perfect little baby birds were resting comfortably inside of me out of the rain that had started in the afternoon. Mama bird left more now to keep up with the growing and very hungry babies. Every time she returned, they would stick their little heads out through the hole while she sat on the rim waiting to feed them. Oh how fast they grew and before I knew it, they were growing feathers and leaving me to go out on their own.

It has been a few years since I first hung in the nice lady’s yard and I am happy to answer the question of do birds really use gourd bird houses, I have the distinct honor of saying yes they do. There has been occasions where I have seen more than one family born during the summer and that is totally okay with me. I remain hanging here until fall arrives and the nice lady removes me from the tree and takes me inside. My journey begins again in the spring when I am covered with a new coat of outdoor spar urethane and hung out for a new season of birding.