Once upon a springtime there were three little songbirds. One loved to fly over the tops of trees so they called her a Tree Swallow. The second had black feathers on the very top of his head so they called him a Black-Capped Chickadee. The third songbird was blue so they called her a Bluebird.
It was time for the songbirds to build their nests for the summer.
The Tree Swallow flew towards the forest and chose a big, tall tree to build her nest in. She gathered pine needles and feathers into a nook of the tree. She then laid on her pile to make it into a cup shape. Once she was happy in her comfy, new bed she shut her eyes to take a nap.
The Black-Capped Chickadee followed the Tree Swallow towards the forest. He found a hole in a tall tree stump that a woodpecker had created. He brought moss, hay, and fur from friendly forest animals into the hole to create his deep, new nest. Once he was done, he too was tired and closed his eyes to sleep.
The Bluebird flew towards an open, grassy field. She saw a beautiful, cedar wood nestbox
resting on top of a shiny, new pole. She gathered long grass and pine needles and weaved them into a nice round nest. She noticed other nestboxes around her and that sometimes humans came knocking on their doors. The Bluebird didn’t mind though, she liked the company.
The next day, a House Sparrow was looking for a place to build his new nest. House Sparrows are mean and he didn’t like the three little songbirds. He was flying near the forest when he heard the chirping of a Tree Swallow. The House Sparrow knew that Tree Swallows build nice nests out of pine needles and feathers, so he decided he wanted to steal the Tree Swallows nest.
He flew up to the Tree Swallow’s tree and said “Little Songbird, Little Songbird, let me come in!”
The little songbird saw the House Sparrow’s long, sharp beak and peeped back, “No way Mr. House Sparrow. This is my house!”
Then the House Sparrow quickly flew away and came back with crumpled paper in his beak. He then started building a nest right on top of the Tree Swallows nest! This made the Tree Swallow really mad, but she remembered the House Sparrow’s long, sharp beak and had to fly away to find a new nest. The Tree Swallow went to the Black-Capped Chickadees house to ask for help.
The House Sparrow finished building his nest in the Tree Swallow’s tree, but when he laid in his new bed he wasn’t happy. He decided he wanted a different nest. He flew over to a tall tree stump. He saw a nice, deep nest made of moss and hay inside.
He flew down to the nest and said “Little Songbirds, Little Songbirds, let me come in!”
The Black-Capped Chickadee and Tree Swallow saw the House Sparrow’s big, powerful beak and chirped back, “Not again, Mr. House Sparrow. This is our house!”
So the House Sparrow swiftly flew away and came back with human garbage in his beak. He then started building a nest right on top of the Black-Capped Chickadees nest. The little songbirds could not believe the House Sparrow was so greedy! But they remembered his big, powerful beak and flew away to find a new nest. They flew to the Bluebird’s nestbox to ask for help.
The House Sparrow finished building his nest in the Black-Capped Chickadee’s stump, but when he heard the neighbor Woodpeckers pecking all day and night, he wasn’t happy. He decided he wanted a different nest. He flew towards the open, grassy field where there was a line of nestboxes with shiny new poles.
He flew down to the nestbox and said “Little Songbirds, Little Songbirds, let me come in!”
The three little songbirds saw the House Sparrow’s large, mighty beak and tweeted back, “Not again, Mr. House Sparrow. This is our nestbox!”
The House Sparrow then flew away to gather materials to take over the Bluebird’s nestbox.
Suddenly, there was a KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! On the Bluebirds door. It was the friendly humans coming to check on the nestboxes! The three little songbirds peeped, chirped, and tweeted their story to the humans. They knew what to do.
When the House Sparrow came back with rotten, dirty grass in his beak the humans surprised him and caught him in a net. They took him so far away that there was no way he could fly back to bother the three little songbirds ever again. The humans also added two more beautiful, cedar wood nestboxes resting on top of shiny, new poles for the Black-Capped Chickadee and Tree Swallow to live in. The three little songbirds looked forward to the weekly KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKS from their new human friends.
Images by National Audubon Society via https://www.audubon.org/bird-guide