Saturday evening, George coated cod fillets in seasoning and prepared them to grill. When he went outside to preheat the gas grill, he opened it and yelled,
"What the --!!!"
I hopped up from the kitchen table where I was reading a medieval murder mystery and dashed out the door, only to dissolve into laughter when I saw the problem.
George had grilled the previous weekend and hadn't replaced the grill cover, so sometime last week, a pair of starlings built this very impressive nest.
We had, in fact, noticed the starlings on the deck all week (they are noisy birds, after all), but we never saw them with nesting material in their beaks and had no idea they saw our gas grill as the perfect shelter for raising babies.
Our first instinct was to move the nest into a large bucket, trying to damage it as little as possible, in the rather ridiculous hope the birds would still use it. But the nest collapsed when I carefully picked it up, and all that was left to do was dump the whole thing in the woods. I cleaned out the grill, and George made dinner as planned.
The birds were, understandably, very upset. They kept coming back stare at the grill cover and cheep angrily at it. In the last day or two, their visits have gradually become fewer and farther between as their bird brains accept the loss of the nest, but I still feel bad for them.
Not so bad, however, that I'd change what we did. Starlings are not endangered, and my aunt assures me they build several nests a year. Little wonder, given how fast they built this big nest! It's hardly hurting the species, even if this particular pair may be distressed. And if they were silly enough to nest in a grill, perhaps their particular genes shouldn't be passed down anyway.
Besides, the fish tacos really were quite delicious.