Who knew that an ornithologist could wield so much power?

About a month ago the scaffolding went up around our building as a precursor to the roofing work that had to be done. For our own protection, we had to individually report this to our insurance companies (assuming that everyone had a third party liability and household insurance). I obediently did so and complied with the instructions given to me by the insurance company, which also included a clause about not leaving any window open if nobody was home. This would be fine and dandy if it were winter, but in summer it is not easy, especially on the cats. It’s a good thing that I have a lot of plants in the house that somehow absorb the heat, and I keep all the shades drawn. As a result, I leave the fan running for the cats while I am at work. Mind you, they are not spoiled at all…

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Ornithologists rule! ©MTHerzog

Well, just when we had all prepared for the onslaught of construction workers, noise, dust, and general mayhem, everything came to a screeching halt. The workers vanished and the scaffolding is standing like an abandoned corpse. What happened? Well the Ministry of Environmental Protection sent an Ornithologist to inspect the roof, since our building is located within a nature reserve, and he found 22 birds’ nests with eggs and chicks of sparrows and swallows. Since it is brooding season and the young birds are just about to learn how to fly, they cannot be disturbed nor may the nests be touched or removed. Not to mention that the potential noise and racket from the tools would scare the river fowl as well. So construction came to a complete stop for an undetermined amount of time.

I met a couple of my neighbours yesterday and got an update on the nesting situation. We have all observed the swallow families giving the young ones flying lessons throughout the day. They fly in a certain pattern in tight formation with one of the parents squawking instructions, something that drives all the cats in the building absolutely nuts. Nobody really cares about the sparrows, but the swallows are of greater interest.

Construction is scheduled to resume on August 20, pending the approval of the ornithologist again. With the current heat wave, nobody is sure what the birds are going to do and you can’t really send them a memo with a deadline. According to the law, the nests must be completely vacated before any work can proceed.

This is Germany in all its legal force. Ever tried issuing an eviction notice to sparrows and swallows?!