In June of 2010, we had the unfortunate incident occur. Spouse was overseas and I was having some yardwork done in the back, in the corner of the yard. Mostly because I was scared of continuing to contribute to possible snake habitat and certain areas of the yard were pretty overgrown. Having seen and thankfully removed one baby cottonmouth I was in no mood for additional critters to be found by either me, the dogs or the kids. So the yard men were in the back corner, relatively close to the nestbox where the blues had babies. The parents were going nuts, swooping slightly at the box, and me being ignorant, thought it was because the men were working close to the box, so I kindly walk over and just tell him, hey, just try to be quiet, the nestbox has babies and I think the parents are slightly stressed. And, yes, you can imagine, the look of ‘are you kidding me lady’ on the young guy’s face, because it was there. We both look at the nestbox and see something poking out, ‘I’m like geez, what is that?’ To which the young guy says, ‘Um, that is a snake’. Oh dear oh dear!! So I start literally hoping from one foot to another, ‘Oh, get it out, oh please, it’s going to eat the babies, oh please get it out’. At this point, the other workers stop, see the crazy lady jumping up and down and pointing, and one brave guy asks for a chair. I run to get him a step ladder in the house, and at which this time, the kids all come gathering around to see what is going on and why mom is freaking out. I grab the step ladder put it down and start barking directions. ‘Please please get it out, it must be getting the babies’ – to which I kid you not, the young guy says ‘Ma’am I’m not animal control’. Luckily the other guy did not realize removing snakes was not part of the job description and gets the snake out of the nestbox and yes, kills it. We identified it as a corn snake, perfectly harmless and good for the environment but terrible for the blues. Sadly the blues did not return and the one lone egg never hatched. I think the most distressing aspect of it all was that the parents knew, they were so vocal and scared and just had to watch while their babies were taken from them. I really was quite distraught about it all for days afterwards and while I know that it is part of nature and this is part of what it means to be enamored of bluebirds, it is still hard to endure and while we refer to it as the Unfortunate Incident.

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