My Two Birds

A couple of months ago, I noticed one night, a bird, nestled in the corner of our back door awning.

‘Why!; taking shelter here! How nice!’I thought.

The bird returned the next night, and the next, and soon, I realized the bird was mine.

“She lives here!” I told Nic, happily. I felt lucky. Lucky to have her.

She would appear at different hours in the evening, so as the evenings approached, I would check in, when I was out of the house. The bird emoji on my phone was solidly standing in my ‘most recent used’.

One day, while thinking about her, I began to wonder if I was doing all I could. It’s very possible she could benefit from me stuffing some cotton up there, or leaving some on the ground? Or should I put up a bird house? Or some bird seed? What should I be doing, besides being happy that she is here??? There has to be something, right? That I can do? To make her feel happy, feel safe, to provide for her too????

I started googling. But the pre-populated answer format wasn’t giving me what I wanted. I wanted to talk to someone. Someone who knew and loved birds. Who I could explain the whole story to. A bird mentor.

So my next step was to google ‘Iowa bird expert’. And right there, on my screen, I found someone who was touted as just that. I shrieked! I could find only a business email for him. It felt a little out of bounds, but I went ahead and typed up my inquiry anyway.

Mr. Schoenewe,

I apologize for contacting you at your place of business, but this was the only email address I could find for you.
I was googling Iowa experts regarding birds, and your name came up. I am simply hoping to ask someone who knows quite a bit more than I do about a situation I am currently facing with a bird.
I live in Marion, Iowa. We have a back door that has an awning above it. For about 2 weeks now, we have had a bird sleeping in the overhang of the awning every night. She gets comfortable in the corner of it and stays there until the morning.
I am wondering if there is anything I can do to make her more comfortable up there, without negatively affecting her. Is it absurd to think I could put some cozy material up there for her? Should we put out some birdseed? (We have never had food for birds in our backyard.) Is there anything I can do to make her winter any better?
I have grown attached to her. I talk to her nightly and sing a little. I just really want to make sure I can do anything for her in my power.
Thank you so much!
I apologize if this inquiry is out of line in any way.
Kelly Green 
When Mr. Schoenewe got to work on Monday, he replied. And may I say that no matter what he would have replied — the mere fact that he did — the time-taking he took — inspired in me immense gratitude.



Birds usually find what they need to survive cold weather and this one has found a protected spot at your place.  I would hesitate to disturb its place as the bird obviously is comfortable the way it is.  It is going elsewhere to feed during the day and apparently finding what it needs that way.  I would just enjoy your visitor while it stays and be happy it is finding shelter under your awning.  Thanks for your concern.  Birds in general need our help to insure they have the habitat they need to not only survive but thrive. 

My heart ballooned. I was doing enough. This bird found my awning safe. She felt safe with me. What immense pride I felt in that.

Much to our surprise, one day, the bird changed sides. Just up and switched from left to right. Nic and I mused over it before realizing that the bird on the right had quite a different body shape than the bird on the left.

My goodness; she must have told a friend.


So the awning became home to two, and night after night, Nic was instructed to not use the back door, so as not to scare them. I would crack it open every now and then to say hi, or to whistle, or to tell them I loved them. I was so honored.

We’re coming up on about two weeks of no left-side bird. Each evening, I text Nic: one bird face? or two?? I know the answer. One bird face. My heart breaks.

When I come home, I step to the back. I tell him ((yes, I decided they were male and female, based on some body-shape googling I engaged in)) that I’m sorry that she’s gone, and that we’re still here, and that I hope she comes home soon, and that I love him. “I love you,” I say, into the cold night air. “Thank you for being here. We are so glad you are here.”

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