After my trip up the river a few weeks ago I noticed that my motor didn't seem to be running right. I was a little nervous because I did hit a few large rocks while running up there, and was expecting to have some damage somewhere. While in the river, I didn't really open it up all the way, but at higher RPM's it felt like the motor was struggling, and surging a bit. Normally on my motor that means O2 sensor and/or fuel pumps, but after my rocky encounters I was worried that maybe I had something binding in my lower unit.
Fast forward to last weekend and my wife and I are out on the lake hanging out with friends. On the way back to the ramp, I decide to open it up a bit and sure enough, something is really wrong. When I get home I pull the cowling off and immediately see the problem.
The only thing I can guess is that a small bird built that next while we were on vacation and the boat sat for about 2 weeks. Half of the nest was still intact, but the other half was sucked up against the intake. I pulled the pine straw out of the intake, took it back out for some night fishing (ran into Stan while I was out there) and it's running like a champ.
So, if you are ever having motor issues, 1st thing to check is to make sure there isn't a birds nest in your intake.