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When Sailing Is Given the Bird

We’ve heard a variety of excuses for why people don’t go sailing, but “because of a bird?” Really? Come on, that must be a joke. But in this case it was very true. Tom and Anne Bishop, members at the Sausalito Yacht Club, postponed many sailing opportunities around the Bay aboard their Alerion 28, Escapade, because a bird had built a nest inside their mainsail cover, and promptly delivered a clutch of five little eggs.

Bird eggs in the nest
These eggs look a lot bigger in the photo than they are in real life.
© 2021 Tom Bishop

Tom told us, “The boat had an idle period of about two weeks (not exactly idle, as I was working on the boat). Work completed, and with a plan to sail, we removed the mainsail cover only to discover a nest with five eggs in the fold of the main.

“We carefully replaced the sail cover, and over the next week or so watched a pair of house sparrows (we think) fly into and out of the sail cover opening at the end of the boom.”

chicks in the nest
Before long there were “some indistinguishable furry blobs in the nest and a lot of bird droppings around the edges of the nest.”
© 2021 Tom Bishop

Tom and Anne said they canceled several sailing engagements so as to not disturb the birds.

Alas, in the end not all of the chicks made it out alive. One poor little feathered creature had been left behind in the abandoned nest.

So how do you dispose of a bird that didn’t make it out of the nest that had been tucked inside your mainsail cover? The chick and its nest were lowered to the water and given a Viking’s send-off, sans fire.

In this case, a Viking’s funeral seems very appropriate.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

What’s your most unusual excuse for not going sailing?


  1. Greg Clausen 2 years ago

    Me too, it was during spring with flawless weather and discovered a nest made into the boom gooseneck, we thought about going out but mom would have come back to a empty slip and maybe take off. The boat sat for weeks while the three babies grew and then flew away. The only other times I couldn’t sail was during a low tide with the keel in the mud. The marina is famous for keeping boats in or out of harbor because of low tide and they are too cheap to dredge.

  2. Steve Bondelid 2 years ago

    Same thing, (and the same species of bird) happened to us.
    The nest was built in the “catch rain” position of our radar reflector which was protected from weather by its mounting position under our radar.

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