Marcophiles: A funky kind of a bird's eye 'Tour of Homes'

CHRIS CURLE
In 2006 a great horned owl scored this laundry basket home after its real, homemade owls’ nest fell from this pine tree in Naples. Conservancy staff rescued two baby owls and put them in the fallen nest and that into the laundry basket. Voila, recycling! Darron R. Silva/File

In 2006 a great horned owl scored this laundry basket home after its real, homemade owls’ nest fell from this pine tree in Naples. Conservancy staff rescued two baby owls and put them in the fallen nest and that into the laundry basket. Voila, recycling! Darron R. Silva/File

Marco’s own “Flailing Man” sculptor is now in a major photo contest by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology because of the former mockingbird nest in the blue dude’s crotch. Chris Curle/Eagle Correspondent

Marco’s own “Flailing Man” sculptor is now in a major photo contest by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology because of the former mockingbird nest in the blue dude’s crotch. Chris Curle/Eagle Correspondent

The next time you attend one of those “Tour of Homes” events we have around here now and then, why not expand your horizons?

After a day admiring dramatic dining rooms, killer kitchens and cool pools, take a few hours to go looking for birds’ nests. Unusual ones. You could win excellent prizes with a photo of an unusual, creative bird’s nest.

It’s the “Funky Nest Contest,” sponsored by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.

Experts on such things say birds are innovative, practical, determined imaginative and pretty good homebuilders. It’s what they choose to call “home” that makes the search for their habitats a sensory treasure hunt.

The funky nest contest is on now, through June 15. Details below.

Meanwhile, we already have entered the contest with Chris’s photo of one of Marco Island’s most viewed bird’s nests, the one mockingbirds made in the crotch of “Flailing Man.”

That’s our name for the big blue metallic figure of a man, um, running I guess. The city bought it back in the mid 2000s and for a time it was standing on the Heathwood Drive side of City Hall.

Our opinion of the blue man improved when he hosted that birds’ nest without complaint.

We figure the crotch location must have been excellent fodder for the mockingbirds, a fun mocking challenge, with such insults in birdsong as, “Boo on you, you’re all blue,” and “You can’t sing, you can’t dance, you ain’t got no underpants.”

As we recall, landscapers one day cleaned out the crotch birds’ nest after the birds had moved out. The next year, a pair of mockingbirds returned and built a new nest in Flailing Man’s cranium. Head games surely followed because mockingbirds are big teases.

We may have dibs on the Flailing Man’s birds’ nest photo in the Funky Nest photo contest, but the Marco area is full of funky bird nest potential. Here’s how the contest is explained on www.funkynests.org.

Whether you find a robin’s nest on a statue or a hummingbird’s nest on wind chimes, your picture of a bird nest in a funky place can win big in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Funky Nests in Funky Places contest. With nesting season underway, this contest challenges everyone to get outside and watch nature in even the most unexpected places.

“Just start looking,” says Karen Purcell, who created the contest several years ago as part of the Cornell Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project.

“Past experience has shown us you can find bird nests in the most surprising places. We’ve seen them in helmets, old boots, stoplights, store signs, car tires, clotheslines, mailboxes, potted plants, and even a stuffed moose head!”

Entries may be photos, videos, artwork, poems, or stories.

“You don’t have to be a bird expert or an expert photographer. People of all ages are welcome to participate as individuals or with a class, community center or after-school program. Prizes include binoculars, bird feeders, cameras, an iPad and more.”

Again, the entry deadline is June 15. The contest people say they can share information on how to find nests without disturbing them.

If you want to take a great photo and submit it to the contest, go to the website www.funkynests.org. Click on the blue button, “Get Funky Now!”

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. Email chris@chriscurle.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. Email: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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