[NAFEX] The bird pressure

Kieran and Donna redherring at tnaccess.com
Sat Jul 3 09:27:37 EDT 2004

      Thanks for the info on wren houses, Lon, as our blueberries are making
their first real crop this year, and I've already seen that the birds have
been after the early ones.  (I covered the bush with a nylon curtain and
that stopped them)  Every year the wrens try to nest in a shed where I
accidently interfere.  I have nylon curtains for covering my winter greens,
the curtains stay on the patches all winter, and when it gets really cold I
add old sheets as well.  These hang up when not in use in an open shed, and
the wrens start building on top of between them.  When I pull the sheets
down after the last late frost to retire them for the summer, every year an
empty nest falls down.  This year they have succeeded with a late nest, and
I hope the crop of youngsters will appreciate a nice house over by the
blueberries next year!
    The only birds that cause us trouble are the cardinals, which eat our
chicken feed, our English peas and our crowder peas.   Due to the large food
supply, we have LOTS of cardinals.   When I muttered about what I would do
with a BB gun, I was told it's illegal to shoot songbirds.
      The bluebirds usually only nest once a year at our place, but this
year they seemed to quit early.  When I opened the house weeks later I found
2 dead hatchlings, nearly feathered out.  We had no late frosts, no deluges,
so I don't know what went wrong, but to my delight, they are nesting again.
We usually forget to clean out the house, and that's why I think they don't
make a second nest most years.  If you don't know the bluebird's song, the
males like to sit up high to sing, and they sound very conversational, with
long sequences of twittering.
    We used to have a pair of chats nest every year, a bird that always
sounds like it is tuning up to sing but never does.  The male turned up
dead, our cats don't catch many birds, but they got him and that was the end
of that.  We used to always have trouble with potato bugs, but one year we
had a large purplish bird show up, (with his mate), the blue grosbeak, which
I read is called "The potato bug bird" up north.  Though I never actually
saw the birds again, we had no trouble with potato bugs that year or any
year since.  You can tell when the birds are handling the problem because
they always miss one or two.  Instead of whole litters of small bugs chewing
away, you won't notice any damage till one or two of the missed larvae are
big enough to be obvious.
    I know that any of you with grapes don't think too much of wasps, but
they are hard working carnivores early in the season.  They like to nest in
birdhouses and hanging gourds, and a gourd with the bottom gone out of it is
ideal for both the wasps and for keeping an eye on them.  We made the
mistake of persecuting the wasps one year, and Mother Nature filled that
niche with yellowjackets, which was NOT A GOOD IDEA.  Now we are always nice
to our wasps, and are as accomodating as is safe and practical.   Donna

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