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Where are the birds?!
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starseven



Joined: 16 Sep 2011
Posts: 33
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:08 pm    Post subject: Where are the birds?! Reply with quote

Has anyone else noticed a decrease in numbers in their garden?

I know the birds tend to disappear for a while at the end of summer, but those that have left still haven't returned. There's almost always at least one blackbird, usually up to 5 fight over the food in the garden at any one time and I haven't seen one since about August!

The starling horde has disappeared but they did last year too, once the fledglings were established. I've had a pair of collared doves come almost daily for years and they haven't been seen since summer, same as the wood pigeons.

I have been targetted by some rock pigeons that have rings, so think they belong to someone nearby - I stopped putting out seeds etc because they were the only birds coming that ate them, and I don't want to feed someone else's birds! I'll end up caving when the snow and ice comes in a few weeks though.

I'm wondering if the doves and wood pigeons don't like the competition so are staying away.

There's usually a dunnock, wren and robin too and they've made a couple of appearances but never more than once a week. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced the same as I think it's cold enough now to expect birds to visit.

I know some birds naturally flock together in winter (ie tits) to forage for food out in the countryside but I don't really get tits as it is.
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 767
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there
Yes, we have noticed this too. I think that there is still some natural food about and local residents aren't quite ready to visit in their usual numbers yet for our offerings. It could be that the weather is not yet cold enough or that the regulars have gone on to find better fare elsewhere. More people are feeding birds now so they can be a little more choosy!. We still get the odd Gold Finch, Blue Tits, Sparrows and the occasional Blackbird, which we used to see a lot of in our area,but in our case I think it is due to other factors.
I had two lovely Wood Pigeons that used to visit regularly but after returning from holiday in November one was in pieces on our driveway with feathers everywhere. A few weeks before that another one (I presume its partner as they sat on our roof acting like Lovebirds) was predated and left bloodied on our lawn, which I had to dispose of. Local cats again - we have 8 in our Close and one is a avid hunter. When at home I can shoo them off but cannot watch 24/7. It is so upsetting, when this happens all goes quiet for a while on our feeders. We have tried everything to prevent this happening but the pigeons get ambushed because they are ground feeders and cannot fly off as quick as they are all so plump. I love feeding the birds but when this happens I wonder if giving the cats a restaurant is a good thing?
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starseven



Joined: 16 Sep 2011
Posts: 33
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aw it's never nice to see. I didn't have any cat trouble as my cat was good at keeping others out of the garden, but sadly he died in September and there's one cat (possibly feral) that often comes in the garden. I caught it once in mid-air, about 6 feet up, swiping at sparrows on the feeders that are on the fence. Have you tried anything to keep cats out? The sonar things might work but obviously having a cat I could never get one.

I was thinking earlier, maybe the lack of birds is because we had a good summer? More natural food etc. Last year was a washout so perhaps they came earlier than usual, rather than later than usual this year.
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Scribe



Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Cheshire

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No lack of birds here in spite of our 4 cats! Two are aged 16 and have not got the energy, the other two are young kittens of nearly 3 years, the little black female can pick birds out of the air but only gets about 1 per week, that does not keep the birds away, the like our sunflower hearts...... Laughing
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Alan
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 767
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have tried everything we can think of to keep cats out of our garden. We bought a sonar gadget which supposed to scare them but this only worked for so long until they got used to it. We have also installed hurdles around the edge of the lawn where the cats hide in the shrubbery in order to make their ambush a little more difficult. This again only worked for a while so we increased the barrier by placing cut Holly at the back so they had an uncomfortable wait. Unfortunately our ground is mainly at the front as we are on a corner plot and the cats can walk between us and next door as well as walking along the path boundary. This constant use track way has worn a catwalk across our lawn which we cannot remove. My husband in his frustration bought a loud haler type thing which emits a laser beam but you have to be on cat-watch all the time to make it work properly. My friend even gave us some Lion poo bought commercially but that only worked until it disintegrated in the rain. In the summer my heart sank as I watched a cat take a baby Sparrow from the lawn which was born in the garden hedge and I wasn't quick enough to get to the cat before it took off with it, plus later on we had a near miss with a Blackbird; on this occasion thankfully only a few feathers were lost. So you can see it seems to be never ending.
I have seriously thought about removing the feeders and just keeping my boxes but I get so much enjoyment out of the Blue Tits etc that I don't know what else we can do to stop it happening. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
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Scribe



Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Cheshire

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My sister hates cats that get her birds and dig the garden and has a scarer that fires a jet of water when it detects one.....I will ask her where she got it!
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Alan
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 767
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Alan

Anything is worth a try, do let us know if you find out where to purchase this. As animal lovers we don't want to harm the cats just to say 'Hey leave off, can't you'.

Merry Christmas to one and all
Kathy
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Scribe



Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Cheshire

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this - http://www.suttons.co.uk/Gardening/Garden+Equipment/Garden+Pest+Control/Jet+Spray+Cat+Repeller_582018.htm?utm_source=GooglePLA&utm_medium=CPC_feeds&utm_campaign=Garden%20Pest%20Control&utm_term=582018&gclid=CIzyyLrIorsCFZQctAodKmsAKw
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Alan
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Scribe



Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 179
Location: Cheshire

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Scribbles.....I see you! (Scribbles is my Skin & Blister!) Laughing
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Alan
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Scribbles



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 55
Location: Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Kathy,

Unfortunately, as I was out all day yesterday visiting my daughter, I didn't read my Big Bruv's email until this morning, in respect of your cat problem. I see that he has already told you about the Scarecrow and the link to purchase it at a lower price than we paid for ours many years ago ....... also long before Amazon etc. stocked them.

The choice of scarecrows is yours of course, but please be aware of cheap equivalents, as the one we have is the original Contech Scarecrow Water Spinkler Deterrent:

http://www.gardensupplydirect.co.uk/pest_control/contech_scarecrow_water_spinkler_deterrent/10592_p.html

It has already given us many years service and it is the only deterrent which works ....... like you, we wasted a lot of money on the products you mention, even the lion dung!

It is situated to cover all three bird feeders, the pond used by birds for drinking and frogs for breeding and of course our blue tit nesting box, which has been used for the last seven years. Unlike one of my Big Bruv's cats which likes water, luckily, the ten cats in my area hate it and now they don't come in to our back garden anymore.

We would like to have had a scarecrow in our front garden too, as the cats actually "pooh" on top of my low bushes, except for a ground cover conifer, but I don't think the postman would take too kindly to getting wet!

Diane - a dog lover!
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Scribbles



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 55
Location: Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scribe wrote:
Hello Scribbles.....I see you! (Scribbles is my Skin & Blister!) Laughing


Cheeky monkey!
Anyway, just for that, eat your heart out ..... because we're setting off now for fish and chips lunch at your favourite place!!!

Lickle sis
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 767
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Alan & Diane!

Thanks for your concern over my cat problem and link to product. We will look into this appliance as soon as Xmas is over it sounds very promising from what you say. Our only problem will be getting water from the back garden to the front and deciding where is the best place to install it to get maximum effect. Two of our 'locals' have been round already this morning looking for breakfast and were promptly shooed off by me by banging on the window and shouting. Neighbours must think there's that mad woman again! I'm a dog person too but love all creatures and appreciate that not all felines are hunters but know that most hate water as we see reduced numbers on wet days!
By the way I read somewhere that in Australia cats aren't allowed out of their own gardens because of the bird issue- does anyone know if this is correct or not?
Anyway will let you know how it goes!

Kathy
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Scribbles



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 55
Location: Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kathy,

I hope you can find a way to be able to have a scarecrow.
We are quite lucky and I managed to "hide" the hosepipe to our scarecrow behind bushes and little walls, so not much shows on bare soil. As the jet of water comes out, the scarecrow also makes a sort of "spitting" sound which makes the cats jump ...... one of them was near the pond at one time, it jumped up quite high with the shock of both things and it ended up having a swim in the pond. Applause
Needless to say, my husband and I collapsed in a heap laughing! Laughing

I watched an Australian Animal Rescue programme a while ago and in that particular place (can't remember exactly where) ...... cats had to be kept indoors at night and I thought it was a good idea. I've just found this bit of info for you:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2382314/Cat-curfew-needed-save-hedgehogs-expert-claims.html

I thought I'd heard that cats in Sweden have to be on leads like dogs ....... if it's true, I wish it would happen over here!

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Diane
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blueeyedchick



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 767
Location: LEICESTERSHIRE

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diane
Thanks for that bit of information I totally agree with the keeping in of cats at night as breakfast is when birds are at their most vulnerable.
We have a budgie who flies free all day and often we see a cat sitting on the window sill with only the glass between them which keeps budgie safe.

Our blue tit rooster is still coming in each night and I'm hoping that he/she will rear their young in the box in spring if birdie doesn't get caught.

Your description of your cats getting a fright was funny - sorry to all cat owners including big brother Alan!

Another question for all posters- does anyone have a Wireless bird camera installed in their box and if so are they any good, I was thinking of buying one for my brother for Xmas?


Kathy
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ornithopod



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 649
Location: Mayford, Surrey

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blueeyedchick wrote:
Diane
Another question for all posters- does anyone have a Wireless bird camera installed in their box and if so are they any good, I was thinking of buying one for my brother for Xmas?


One of the problems with a wireless camera is that they still need power. So you either have the hassle of frequently recharging and replacing a battery or have to have a wire supplying the required voltage. To my mind this is worse than the one off chore of running wires for power and video from a wired camera.

In addition, you do not get the frequent problems of dealing with wireless dropouts!

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Malcolm

Our Bluetit Diary can be found at http://www.biggonline.co.uk
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