Once upon a time, there lived two blue tits named Madge and Stanley. They lived in a garden, and frequently met up with all the other blue tits at the Silver Birch Saloon. But they always arrived together, and always left together.
One day, Madge looked coyly across at Stanley and said, “My clock is ticking… I want to have eggs with you”
On hearing this, Stanley was overjoyed. He’d always hoped Madge and he would end up together, but didn’t want to seem overly keen in case it scared her off. After a dance about in the tree, Stanley looked at Madge solemnly, and declared, “That is the best news I have heard EVER!” He continued, “I am going to make you the happiest bird in the garden. I promise”. And with that, he fluttered off to find them somewhere to live.
Stanley had noticed a bird box on the fence, very close to Silver Birch Saloon. He’d noticed it, but had never dared believe he might one day own the place. It seemed to be unoccupied, so he flew in through the door to have a sneaky peek about. A quick look around confirmed that there were no other birds in residence. There just seemed to be a bit of fluff in the bottom of the box, but that could soon be tidied up, he reasoned. Stanley was overjoyed. He flew straight back to Madge and told her the happy news.
The next day, Stanley decided to take some bits and bobs to the house, in preparation for ‘operation nest build’.
Scooting towards the house with a beak full of straw, he noticed something was blocking the doorway. On closer inspection, he discovered a bee standing there, having a crafty fag.
“Excuse me young bee,” he began. “Could you please move out of the way and let me into my house?”
The bee, deep in thought, glanced across and replied, “Your house? YOUR house you say?” With a withering look, he continued, “I think you’ll find, sunshine that this is OUR house. So hoppit mate!”
Taken aback Stanley retorted, “Errr… I was here only yesterday. The house was empty. How can it be yours?” He went on… “and I’m no Einstein, but this is a BIRD box, and not a BEE hive”. Feeling brave, he finished with, “So YOU hoppit mate!”
The bee looked slightly peeved and explained, “We are tree bees mate. Been here the last two years.” Puffing his chest out, he continued, “Bombus Hypnorum – that’s what we are. We live in bird boxes. No-one’s sure why… it’s just the way it is.”
Just then, from deep within the house came a loud yawn, followed by a woman’s voice. “Barney! Barney, I say! Who is that at the door?” Slightly annoyed, she continued, “I’m TRYING to take a nap. I’m the Queen, for goodness’ sake… I need my sleep! All I can hear is you, yakking outside”.
Barney threw Stanley a sidelong glance, rolled his eyes, and said in a hushed tone, “You’ve done it now mate. You’ve only gone and woken ‘er inside up. Our lives will not be worth living now”.
The voice from the house continuned, “Barney! Barney! Whoever it is… tell them to bugger orf!”
Stanley had heard enough, and realised that the little house was not destined to be his and Madge’s. With a nod of his head, he fluttered away in search of alternative accommodation.
Will the bees nest in the bird box for the third year running? Who knows? I’ll keep you informed…