Knights in Shining Armor…They Do Still Exist

The ground had been covered with snow and ice for four long days. At last it had melted…just enough for her to leave her home for a quick trip out. Upon returning, as she pulled into the driveway, she noticed a little fluff of orange feathers protruding from one of the entrances to the dove cote, the same cavity where the bluebirds had nested every year for the past three years. The thought came to her…the bluebirds must have sought refuge there from the bitter cold of the last few days. She wondered if perhaps a whole family was down inside since one bluebird was actually visible in the entrance.

Bluebirds Nesting in Lazy Hill Dovecote

A few days passed and that thought was replaced with dread. Something was amiss. Each day as she left for a quick trip to the market or to run an errand, upon returning she noticed the little orange fluff protruding slightly from the entrance was still there. With heavy heart, she tapped on the side of the dovecote. The orange fluff did not move. She kept it together just long enough to get inside the house, but then the tears came…and they came and they came. She had become so attached to those silly bluebirds…the same sweet family returning year after year to nest and feed their babies on the meal worms she provided every spring and summer.

Bluebirds Nesting in Lazy Hill Dovecote

Then a horrible, terrible thought came to her. What if there was a whole family down inside, all frozen to death in the unusually bitter cold that had lasted the whole week. What if several bluebirds had sought refuge in the dovecote but became trapped inside because one of them had frozen just inside the entrance. The thought was more than she could bear.

She beat herself up, wondering if she could have done something, anything to help the birds through this difficult and unusually cold winter. The feeders had been kept full with seed, but what if…what if they had not survived the cold. What if there were more trapped beneath. Her heart breaking, she wondered how she could face removing the little body, or worse yet…bodies, from the dove cote. Were not these the very same birds she had come to love through multiple nestings in the dove cote every spring for the past three years?

Bluebirds Nesting in Lazy Hill Dovecote

She needed help…she couldn’t face this alone. But who could she call? Who could help her with such a sad undertaking? She called the bird store where she had bought her meal worms and seed for the past several years and through tears she described what she had found and her worst fears. An unbelievably caring soul, Craig, consoled her…telling her this wasn’t her fault. Bluebirds could normally weather the cold and he would be happy to come over and help.

She hung up the phone and she waited, pacing the floor and just hoping for the best possible outcome. A friend once told her, you are “too tenderhearted.” What does that mean? How do you cure a tender heart? She stood at the window looking out at the birds coming to the feeders. And then it happened. A big fat, healthy bluebird came to the deck rail just outside…just a few feet away. Though she was sure one bluebird was lost, maybe this was God speaking to her, comforting her that it was going to be OK.

The doorbell rang, startling her from her thoughts. It was Craig and he had good news. There was only one bird, a male…not a whole family inside. He told her he had not frozen but had died from an injury to his chest. He must have sought refuge in the one place he felt safe.

She felt terribly sad for the one bird that was lost, but so relieved there were no others down inside. She gave Craig a big hug, thanking him over and over again for his help. He again assured her that she had done nothing wrong and there really wasn’t a practical way to help the birds stay warm in the winter…that they knew where to go and what to do to stay warm. He told her providing food and water was really all she could do…and this she had done. Before he left, he cleaned out the old nest so the dove cote would be ready if bluebirds came again in the spring. She never even had to see the lost bird…Craig had removed him before he ever came to the door.

She tried to pay him for his time, for any expense…for his unbelievable kindness. He refused saying it wasn’t necessary and he had been glad to help. Before he left, she showed him a photo on her computer of a large hawk who had come calling several weeks before. As they studied the hawk attempting to identify him, Craig noticed and pointed out a bluebird just outside the window drinking melted snow from the candelier. She was so grateful for his kindness…a huge burden lifted off her shoulders. All she could think was how amazing it is that there are still such caring, generous people in the world.

If you live in the north suburbs of Atlanta, please stop by and say hello to Craig at Wild Birds Unlimited on Piedmont Road in Marietta. He saved me that cold January day and I will always remember his kindness.

Wild Birds Unlimited
1050 E Piedmont Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 565-9841

Today, as I walked down the driveway to retrieve the mail, a bluebird couple flew from the dovecote to the top of the crape myrtles nearby. They are prospecting…staking out their claim. They know the days are getting longer and soon, spring will be here. Thanks to the kindness of a true gentleman, a knight in shining armor, the dove cote is all ready.

Bluebirds Nesting in Lazy Hill Dovecote

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  1. thanks for sharing tis

  2. So sad! I love bluebirds, but have only had them nest once in my bluebird house. I'm moving it this year, a little farther away from a tree line, hoping this may be the problem!

  3. Custom Comforts says

    What a beautiful post!!! I love bluebirds and you are so blessed to have them in your yard. Bluebirds like open spaces and my yard is too enclosed to draw them in, so I envy you of your precious couple.

  4. so glad someone as kind as Craig could help you….and that the Bluebirds are going to be able to use there home for new 1's.

  5. Oh Susan, I know how you felt. I get the same protective mothering instinct over my birds too. I worry about them and get upset when any babies go missing etc. I'm so glad this had a happy ending as I could barely read it…
    I have been seeing my bluebird couple return to our box and making their lovely call! Such a great harbinger of spring.

  6. Sandy, the Old Crow says

    I can relate, I have a pair of cardinals living in my yard. They sure make my day.

  7. Ah, thank you for sharing this sweet post, Susan. We have a lasting affection for the birds that visit us, too.♥

  8. The White Farmhouse says

    What a sweet story. It is so nice to know that there still is kindness and people willing to go out of their way for others with no personal gain in mind. I can't wait to see all your pics of the bluebirds this year.

  9. Such a lovely story…..what a guy that Craig is! Glad all is well in the dovecote!

  10. tenderhearted? Sure, but that is very endearing. God created Adam to care for his garden and his creatures…so while we are called to do other things caring for God's creatures was our first duty. I love my birds too. Except I sure wish the barn swallows did come back every year to have their babies over my front door… (they are very messy…and those babies stay in their nest for forever!)

  11. I would have felt the same way Susan! I feel humans can take care of themselves but it is our responsibility to take care of animals as much as we can. We don't feed the birds but we have a bird bath and heat it through the winter. We have several trees that the birds eat the fruit from…especially the Bradbury Pears in our front yard. With all the snow covering the ground this winter the birds have been relying on that fruit. I love your blog for many reasons and your love of birds is one. Thanks for posting the photos of your bluebirds. They are so pretty.

  12. Yay Craig, could he have been any kinder and more thoughtful; removing the bird before speaking to you, and cleaning and prepping the area for future use. What a lovely story of two kind people, I have tears in my eyes. And such a heartwarming way to start my day. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Nellie's Cozy place says

    Morning Susan,
    What a sweet post, and you do have a lovely tender heart, and that is a good thing, and what a great guy Craig is………
    It is a wonderful thing when we are blessed to find wonderful and caring folks, it just renews our faith in people and the world.
    Love your dovecote, it is so pretty and looks like it makes a nice mansion for those bluebirds, hope you get a new family this year.
    and may God rest the poor Bluebirds
    Blessings, Nellie

  14. Aw, what a sweet, touching story. I hope the new couple decide to set up housekeeping in your dovecote.

  15. What a sweet story. Lovely Dovecote.

  16. Thanks for sharing! We LOVE, LOVE to watch our bluebirds here in NC! They are busily working on their nests in our nesting boxes and gobbling mealworms in between. The folks are our local WildBirds Unlimited are also terrific!

  17. I too have had the joy of seeing the bluebirds 'shopping'. They tease me every spring after eating at my bird feeders all winter. Sometimes they build in my dovecote and sometimes they start to build but then leave. I also am very fond of the staff at Wild Birds Unlimited on East Piedmont. I have been shopping with them ever since they opened with the original owner. They are the only ones I run to with 'bird issues'. My fingers are crossed that a family moves into at least one of my houses. They bring me such joy.

  18. Susan
    What a beautiful story with a happy ending. Thank you for sharing.


  19. Happy Cottage Quilter says

    Did you know you can participate in the Backyard Bird Count this week? Go here to check it out.


  20. Kelsie From Our Country Home says

    I am so sorry he had to go, but take comfort knowing he went "home" to the safest place he knew to die and you gave him that for all those years and even in his final moments.

    How wonderful Craig is to come and help you, he truly is a Knight in shining armor.

    Bless you both

  21. what a beautiful birdie love story..My Knight in Shining Armor rescued a bird that had got herself all tangled in fishing wire..we were married for 30 yrs…his armor has been replaced with angel wings now…but, I know he is still here protecting me and the birdies!!!

    Heart Hugs,

  22. Denise @ Forest Manor says

    Hi Susan,

    Loved your story! We love bluebirds too. Yourdovecote is beautiful. There is a Wild Birds Unlimited in N.C. in the town near us, and it is managed by an older married couple. They bring their two cats to the store with them everyday. They are also very nice, helpful, and knowledgable about birds. It's so nice to have people like that in your community, isn't it? Enjoy your birds this sumemr.


  23. The Reluctant Blogger says

    What a wonderful gentleman to come and help you!

    I love your Dove Cove…where did you get it? I have a yard full of finches and other small song birds that I would love to provide a beautiful home for but I have no idea where to start.

  24. That is awesome Susan, I frequent my local WBU weekly, and they are a special group of people. So sad for your little guy, sometimes nature breaks my heart. Happy Spring!

  25. Does Craig own the store? If not, please pass your appreciation on to his boss/supervisor. Sounds like this is a man worthy of accolades.
    Thank you for sharing him with us!

  26. Thank you for the wonderful story. It was an excellent post.

  27. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    Oh this is the sweetest little story, thank you for sharing. We don't have Bluebirds here in the PNW at least not that I've seen but they are so lovely…

  28. Well Craig is just the best. If I lived closer I'd stop by and tell him myself. What a sweetie and you are too sweet yourself! I hope you have lots of birds this spring.

    I stopped by Whites where I work as needed and picked up some violas. I think I'm ready for spring!

    From Virginia

  29. Elisabeth Hirsch says


  30. Awww, Susan, what a heart warming story. I just came out from outside filling all the 5 bird feeders outside cause I could hear them chirping so loudly….Christine

  31. AshTreeCottage says

    What a bittersweet story. I could not get through the post without shedding lots of tears. Our birds bring us all such happiness!

    Susan and Bentley

  32. Vicki @ Curly Willow says

    Beautiful post. The world needs more knights! So glad spring is almost here!

  33. Sue (Someone's Mom) says

    What a wonderful story. Isn't it nice when someone steps up to help just because…it doesn't happen often enough anymore.

  34. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Hi Reluctant Blogger,
    The dove cote is made by Lazy Hill and I found it from a seller on eBay. If you go to eBay and type in Lazy Hill in their search engine, I think his store will pop up. He was still on there the last time I checked. I wish I could remember his name but it was many years ago when I purchased the dove cote. I think it's meant to be ornamental but the Bluebirds love it. 🙂

  35. Susan,
    I, too, have a birdhouse on a stake that I bought as decoration for my garden some years ago. And then low and behold the spring after my father passed away, a sweet bluebird couple arrived and nested there. The male would sit atop the house standing guard as the female flew back and forth with twigs. When we sat outside at the patio table, the male would fly over and sit and warble at us. A barn cat who hangs around got the both of them so the eggs never hatched. Every spring I wait for another couple to come along. Bluebirds are such pretty birds!

  36. Isn't it remarkable that men like Criag are willing to drop everything at work and rush over to help a lady in distress over the life and death situation of Blue Birds!! This is such a tender, caring, loving story that it touches my heart. God loves even the birds in the field and so should we!

  37. Meadowsweet Cottage says

    So much better to be tender-hearted than the alternative.

    Nice to know chivalry is still alive and well. Craig, you rock!

  38. Designs By Pinky says

    Oh Susan, I feel your pain! Last year we had a family of birds in our birdhouse on the deck. WE had company and were sitting out there, came in, and within 5 mins. came back out and SOMETHING (a snake amybe) had taken all the eggs out and had smashed 2. We did replace the otheres and they LIVED!!!!! It was so darn upsetting but we also had a happy ending. XO, Pinky

  39. CherishedHearts Vintage says

    A couple? Which means a family to come? Wonderful!

    My mother and bf have told me "you can't save them all" and I've been told by others that I was too tender hearted also, but it doesn't stop me from trying to save the one that come my way, whether they be children, dogs, cats, or birds.

  40. Thank you for sharing such an endearing story, I also love the blue birds.

  41. We feel about our birds as you do about yours, Susan.

    Unfortunately, the little squatters have taken over my bluebird house for the past several years preventing the bluebirds from nesting. I have given up on trying to kick the squatters out. It just thrills me to see the bluebirds visit, even if they don't live here. Love your bluebird photos!

    We just had to take our hanging feeders down tonight due to a severe wind warning in our area through tomorrow. Our poor birds will be wondering what is going on!


  42. Susan, this brought a little tear to my eyes… How sweet of Craig to do all that he did. ♥ Yes, there are still kind and caring people out there, thankfully, to rescue us when we feel helpless.

  43. Graceful Moments says

    You made my eyes leak. What a lovely story and no, you can never be too tenderhearted. God makes our hearts soft. Thanks for sharing your story and if I ever get the opportunity, I will be sure to visit Wild Birds for my birding supplies. Glad your dove cote is going to be home to a new family soon.

  44. The first thing that came to mind was Matthew 25:40. Glad it turned out so well on all counts!

  45. Cindy @ LeChaiseParfait says

    What a beautiful story thanks for sharing.

  46. Susan, this is such a sweet story even with a bit of sadness. I think there are at least 2 kind & tender-hearted people in the suburbs of Atlanta, and that's a very good thing.

  47. Susan, that was a sweet and sad story.
    We have to look after our birds in the Winter or they will not visit us in Summer.
    Unfortunately, sometimes birds hit the windows and my hubby calls on me. They are not always dead, but shocked and I hold them in my hands until they get over it. The only time I ever saw a bluebird was years ago when it hit the window and I nursed it and then it would not leave my finger.
    I just love your Dovecote…hmmmm….hubby, I want a Dovecote. 🙂

  48. we three dogs and me says

    Your story almost made me cry. I don't have bluebirds but do have birdhouses that have had blue barn swallows. When they leave with there babies they fly down around us like saying goodbye we wave and they fly away.

  49. Susan, where did you find this bird house? We have a similar one that is very old and has been repaired several times but I think this might be there year for a replacement.



  50. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Dian…I found mine on eBay. Just google Lazy Hill Dovecote or check on ebay for them. Here's a link to a post about the birdhouse:

  51. Ben Kennard says


    I am making a dovecote for a HSC major project in year 12. I desperately need to know how the top of the dovecote is curved. Do you who made this dovecote, or someone who does?

    Ben Kennard

    • Hi Ben,
      The dovecote in my garden was made by a company called Lazy Hill Farm. I’m not sure, but you may be able to call them and get some information about the roof from them. If you can’t reach them, then trying looking for dovecotes on eBay. I think there are some folks selling dovecotes on eBay that built the ones they are selling. They could probably answer your questions about the design.

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