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They’re Back! And With A Vengeance

November 21, 2011

Over the past few months, I have been congratulating myself about my highly effective bird-proofing of the nursery at the farm.  Back in February I launched a major assault.  They won the first round of battle, but I declared decisive victory in the second.

All through the winter I’ve been perfecting my defences, even going so far as to install swivel-mounted raptor cutouts to convince any birds who might be looking for lodging that the neighborhood was decidedly unsafe.

Everything was going well and as spring came and it came time for birds to start building nests, I kept a watchful eye for any unauthorized settlement activity.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.

Then last week happened.

It was like they had been waiting for the right moment.  We hadn’t been up to the farm for about a week and on arriving were greeted with evidence that the birds were busy.  That thing that looks like a turd on top of the light is the makings of a nest.

Right in front of an owl-like wind chime and a fearsome black predator!  Clearly, the birds had gotten toughened up over the winter.  Fortunately, the nest was in the early stages and once human traffic started up, they abandoned the site and went elsewhere.

But it wasn’t until I went inside the nursery that I started to get really worried about whether I’d been underestimating the power (and malevolence) of the bird mentality.

I had previously found the spots through which they were gaining access to the nesting sites (basically, every crack and crevice), and using a variety of methods, I had blocked them off.  Some I covered with pieces of wood, some I put wire mesh over and some I used spray foam insulation (one of the most diabolical inventions in history).  Those main defense works were guarded by a network of raptor cut outs and old CDs.

As best I can piece together what must have happened is that the birds decided to test the defences and when they held, they decided to show their displeasure.

The first clue that something was amiss was a lot of flaky stuff on the floor.  Closer inspection revealed it to be pieces of insulation that they had tried to peck out.  Fortunately it held, but I was fairly alarming to think that they would actually show such aggressive behaviour.

My theory is that having failed to penetrate the insulation and other barriers, they tried carpet bombing, whether because they thought it would help them get access or, more likely, they wanted to express their extreme displeasure.

I’m limiting the number of pictures, because you get the idea.  But they did that everywhere.  How am I not supposed to assume they weren’t just being vindictive?

They even pooped on the raptor!

Needless to say, I have new respect for the foe.

Pre-mission Briefing??

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Snoring Dog Studio permalink
    November 21, 2011 11:37 am

    No WAY! Oh, my gosh, it sure looks like vindictive behavior! Wow. That was some pooping frenzy. Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t that far off. Sometimes birds just scare me. They obviously can turn on a dime and become quite hostile. Watch out! Wear a hat!

  2. November 21, 2011 12:54 pm

    They do look like they have done damage or about to do damage which is the only reason you need to shoot a crow in Minnesota. I know these aren’t crows but maybe New Zealand has something similar.

    If your intent has been to live in harmony with the birds, they could be a bit more cooperative. It seems you have approached the situation in a non-violent manner to this point. 🙂

    The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind whenever I see birds gathering in large groups…

  3. November 21, 2011 1:17 pm

    Blue jays are the sneaky raccoons of the bird species.

  4. November 22, 2011 2:44 am

    It’s the old “we were here first” syndrome. Whoever said “bird brain” as a derogatory expression of intelligence was mistaken. Good luck.

  5. Len Skuta permalink
    November 22, 2011 3:50 am

    The meanest of the mean. I was clearing the driveway of snow one day when some gulls flew overhead. I thought I heard some “splats” but did not move fast enough. Fortunately I was wearing a hat becausethey have deadly aim.

  6. November 22, 2011 9:58 am

    “unauthorized settlement activity” and “they even pooped on the raptor” … I know I’m not supposed to laugh … haha

    You need to find the grub my friend!

  7. November 22, 2011 10:03 am

    I’m downtown, so can check your blog!

    Have they been watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds?”

    I’m sure you have a power washer there, right? When these things happen on the Rancho, the Judge gets his John Deere power washer and nails everything in sight.

    Oy vey.

    • November 23, 2011 3:28 pm

      Yes–down here they call it a water blaster. I plan to use it on the wall–and maybe for defense as well.

  8. Len Skuta permalink
    November 22, 2011 11:11 am

    I’m sure Cue Haven will be a smashing success. My son Glenn has a similar undertaking , on a smaller scale in his own bac yard.

  9. November 22, 2011 2:11 pm

    I see a sequel to The Birds here Thomas. Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock (or his ghost) could help you. Mitch and Melanie (was that their names) managed to survive in the movie.
    Maybe your birds consider themselves the indigenous people and therefore, have first call on the land and your property.
    Best wishes for your survival.

  10. November 22, 2011 3:39 pm

    These birds have stepped up their game. Once they learn how to use tools you are doomed. Good thing they have not yet developed opposable thumbs on their wings.

  11. November 23, 2011 4:54 pm

    And people ask me why I don’t love the widdle birdies.

    Get cats.

  12. November 24, 2011 3:13 am

    Evil birds! Looks like they had the last word on the subject.

  13. November 25, 2011 2:23 am

    Here’s a thought: Have you ever seen Aristophanes’ THE BIRDS? Maybe, we should just join them?

  14. December 2, 2011 1:55 pm

    Call the embassy. As a U.S. citizen, you and your property are eligible for international drone protection. I’m sure they can take out sparrows headed toward your nursery from the air with precision strikes.

  15. December 7, 2011 2:00 pm

    Oh dear, Tom…I wish I had some good idea of what to suggest…good luck!


  16. Kathryn permalink
    December 13, 2011 7:10 am

    The beginnings of a nest on top of the light looks like a swallow’s nest and if this is a plant nursery ( assuming its not for children, errant or otherwise) maybe you should reconsider having them around. They are amazing insect controllers and eat annoying pests like shield beetles and white butterfly. And apparently it’s very lucky to have swallows nest on your house! Sparrows on the other hand…good luck with eviction.My money is on the sparrows, if you’re playing fair.

    • December 14, 2011 2:56 pm

      Hi Kathryn–Yes, the nest on the light belongs to swallows, Traffic in and out of the ranch slider convinced them to relocate but they still swoop around. You’re right about the sparrows!

  17. December 23, 2011 12:34 am

    I was also reminded of The Birds. I suggest wearing, along with the hat, protective glasses – don’t risk getting your eyes pecked out by them with your great writing. They’ve made the pecking order quite clear, haven’t they? Wonderful to “meet” you – thanks for reading my blog! I look forward to reading yours. Happy holidays and may the bird of happiness … um, no, never mind!

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