Our house has a raised foundation and was built in 1952. I also don't think it's had any improvements since that time, so it is really showing it's age in some spots. This morning, after my daughter went to school, when I walked into the kitchen I heard this tiny little scrabbling, scratching sound. It came from the area by the back door that leads from the kitchen to the back yard. I walked over quietly and stood there a moment, trying to ID the sound.
"Ah HA!" I thought, "Geraldine the tortoise (currently hibernating on the pantry floor) is finally waking up! This MUST mean it's really going to stop all this bloody raining nonsense and be SPRING!" I toss open the pantry doors, 'cause if Geraldine is awake and moving about, you'd best be right spry with getting things out of her way, otherwise she simply rams right through them and makes one unholy mess.
Geraldine is still, slumbering happily on. The noise continues.
Oh, I know! The chickens are on the back porch and are pecking at the back door, wanting goodies! I open the door to see who it is.
Not a chicken in sight, never mind on the back porch. Hmm...
I close the door and wait. After a few moments, the noise resumes. Scrabble, scritch. It actually begins to sound a little like chewi...
"Oh, shi--dear!" I now think to myself, "It must be TERMITES IN THE WALL." Then it occurs to me that this noise is too BIG for termites. Larger, more unhappy alternatives to termites chewing on things in the wall come to mind. *shudder*
I sigh and put my ear to the wall, moving my head a bit to find out exactly where the noise is coming from. It seems to be coming from the bottom of the window, which has a closed venetian blind covering it, that looks out onto the patio. As I stand there, I further realize that the sound seems to be coming from outside! Now I remember that the circuit breaker panal and electrical meter are right there, and if Big Chewing Something is having breakfast in there, it's gonna be expensive.
I reach out with both hands and gently part the vertical blinds to see if I can get a peek at whatever it is. To my surprise (and his) I startle a male House Sparrow who was perched on the edge of the window sill. Not unusual, as they often light on the side of the house to feed on little bugs. He flies a few feet away and when I look closely at him, he has some nesting material in his beak. Just before he darts off to the birdhouse we have hung from the garage, it registers in my mind what the nesting material is.
It's strands of nylon window screen material.
MY WINDOW SCREEN.
The little &#@* has been yanking my screen apart by the beakfull! Since I open that window every day, I know it was fine yesterday. So here is a picture of what I found a 8:30AM this morning:
He had taken off three inches on the right side and one inch on the left, all the way across the bottom. Since the screen is ruined anyway, and I don't think it's harmful to him (it's not metal and quite soft) I'm going to let him have at it and measure his progress each day--that's why the ruler is there. :)
The really funny thing is, we had a similar hole develop on our sliding glass door screen a few feet away, and I had been silently blaming my 6 year old daughter for it, figuring she punched a hole with a toy or something.