By Terri Nighswonger
What’s odder than a bird building a nest in your RV ladder? A bird building a nest in The RV Odd Couple, John and Mercedes Condon’s, RV ladder. Make that bird a protected species and you’ve got fodder for a great story and a life lesson as well.
In May 2019, the Condons were near Yosemite Park for a two-week stay. They were burnt out, sick and needing a break. They got one…in spades.
They were able to watch and document a pair of Steller’s Jays build their nest in the ladder on the back of their RV. The industrious birds used sticks and mud to provide a home for their upcoming brood, so John began to film.
“I got lost in nature,” John says on the couple’s YouTube channel.
The birds completed the nest and then disappeared for several days ensuring the spot was safe before laying eggs.
The couple determined they would stay until the process was complete. It wasn’t long before the birds laid eggs and the real difficulties began. They learned about the Migratory Bird Act, which would cost them a $15,000 fine or six months in jail if they moved.
“Once the eggs are in the nest, they can’t be moved except by a professional,” John said.
To add to the issue, Thousand Trails told the couple they had to leave because the park was booked. The couple said the stress and uncertainty of “move or don’t” was distressing. Finally, they were able to talk with the correct person in Thousand Trails and got the okay to stay. From that point, they were able to monitor the birds every day and gain some needed downtime.
Around Mother’s Day, the birds laid four eggs: three hatched. They were able to see the chicks grow quickly, nurtured by both parents. When it finally came time to leave the nest, 21 days after birth, they watched the mother continue to care for her young until they were fully able to fend for themselves. One baby was lost when it fell into a nearby river while trying to fly.
“Life moves fast but when we lost the bird at the end, we realized that time is precious!” Mercedes said. “And if you want to get Thousand Trail’s attention, just get Fish & Wildlife involved.”