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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Determined robins seem right at home on bike

Apparently, patio living is for the birds. (The Spokesman-Review)
Apparently, patio living is for the birds. (The Spokesman-Review)

Earlier this month, Maria Washington noticed a couple of squatters making themselves at home above her patio.

A pair of robins had started building a nest in a decorative lattice.

Now Washington, who lives near Hamblen Elementary, has nothing against birds. But the location of this avian construction project had troubling implications. The nest was directly above the patio chairs, if you catch my drift.

Besides, as the weather warms up, that area is going to be the scene of a lot of human activity. It’s just not the ideal spot for a bird crib.

So she reached up and swept away the beginnings of the nest.

Undeterred, the birds commenced rebuilding on the same site.

This time, Washington covered the unfinished nest with a big pot.

She thought that was that. She was wrong.

“The joke was on me when I failed to notice the alternate location,” she said.

The birds had come up with a Plan B. They decided to build the nest in Washington’s nearby Schwinn High Timber bicycle, which was hanging upside down above the patio.

“It was quite a substantial nest with lots of mud and bigger sticks than the previous attempts and the pair were looking it over with pride,” she said. “It was then that I decided nature had won.”

This one could stay.

“I was worried that they wouldn’t have a place to nest as egg-laying time was near. So here we are with a future robin family, right over my patio furniture.”

Washington and her husband, Rich, later affixed a cardboard screen to the bike. That’s to allow the mama robin a modicum of privacy while she shifts her parenting mojo into gear.

And for the time being, Maria will just have to ride one of her other bikes.

•Speaking of bikes and birds: Kirsten Fehlig, who lives near the Spokane River, was pulling in to her driveway after a bike ride when she saw a bald eagle fly off with one of her chickens.

The procured poultry was limp, so Fehlig figures the eagle had already done it in.

•Slice answers: The best time of day to be in downtown Spokane? “Fifty years ago,” said Gerald Ray.

And a couple of readers said the youngest people named “Judy” are college students from Asia who have adopted American-sounding names from the pre-Caitlin era.

•Today’s Slice question: Thatching or aeration?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail For previous Slice columns, see Apple blossoms rock.

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