Pages

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Well, that was sad.

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to the small shed when I realised I had company.



At the top of a stack of old mushroom trays (perfect size for 9cm pots or seed trays) one of our resident blackbirds had built this year's nursery.  Might have been the same girl who built a large nest in the log store last year . . . because she wasn't remotely bothered about me going back and forwards within a couple of feet of her.



Last week I had a quick peep when she was off the nest and found three perfect little eggs.  When I got back from Scotland we realised one had hatched but a day later Mum was huddled down at the very back of the blue tray and we were worried she had abandoned the eggs.  Next time I went to the shed when she was absent I realised she was out of the nest because her chick had escaped.  Completely bald, but still alive, I took the risk of deciding to move it.  I could not pick it up because I couldn't get a finger around it without a risk of doing damage (it was tucked right into the corner of the plastic box) but got a couple of new paintbrushes and used them like soft chopsticks.

Much relief because a little while later Mum was back on the nest and I was having sneaky peeks when she was away - the chick was getting feathers, and growing well.  Sadly the other two eggs had not hatched - we think they got too cold whilst she was protecting the escapee.

This morning I went to have a look and saw a pile of boxes on the ground - and no chick.  The remaining two eggs are still there.





So sad, that is two years running a nest in the vicinity of the log store has been raided (last year there were three strong chicks and one morning they were all gone).  We are fairly convinced the culprit is our neighbours' cats.  Last year they caved into the incessant whining from two small girls and acquired a couple of kittens who have both taken to sitting underneath our bird feeders.  If we see them or Daisy gets a glimpse, they are chased away with unfriendly intent, but in a garden this size we cannot do much more.

The cat thing makes me very angry.  If I allowed Daisy to rampage through neighbouring gardens and sh*t in the middle of flower beds and lawns I could be prosecuted.  Cat owners however, seem to get away with anything and everything.

Thankfully we do have a lot of other nests, of course I've no idea if they are predated or if the parents successfully raise their little families.  We have a pair of thrush nesting in the laurel bushes near the fruit cage, I've got the noisiest blue tits in the country in a box outside my bedroom window, there are wrens in another laurel hedge, and (much excitement) a pair of wagtail whom we think are nesting in the giant log pile for the second season.  There are also a good number of dunnock, robins and a pair of collared doves.

Whilst there are many other blackbirds at Bag End, it is still so sad to lose babies, but I am wondering whether the log store is doomed and maybe next season, if I see a nest being created I intervene and try to force the birds somewhere else?





10 comments:

  1. A shame the little chick didn't make it, that's so sad. A pity you can't rig up some sort of trap for the cats in the vicinity of the log store - a bucket of water up high or a super soaker, rigged to a trip wire so when the cats walk over it they get a good soaking from above :) Fortunately my three are indoor cats so the bird population round here is quite safe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eunice. I would love to be able to rig up something like you describe but this garden is too big - there are so many different routes, places the cats go, it would be impossible. Believe me - Management and I have given it much thought :(

      Delete
  2. Such a shame the little chick was taken. Cats messing in our front garden is one of my pet hates, Annie sees them off from the back garden. It doesn't happen too often anymore as the main culprit had an unfortunate end which made me very sad indeed. The local cat population seems to have diminished over recent years too which is a blessing. It'd be a shame for you to have to prevent the nest building but I honestly don't know how you could deter the neighbourhood cats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eileen, unfortunately these aren't the only cats in the immediate vicinity, sadly these two seem particularly keen on our garden and our birds . . .

      Delete
  3. We have a couple of cats (sorry) and the birds do not nest in our garden, but we do have loads of feeders. Both our cats do not bother the smaller birds, but they do stalk the fat pigeons, they both understand they can't catch the smaller birds. they have never caught a pigeon, thank goodness. Only one cat goes out of our garden, the other is 14 this month and stays close to home, our problem is with urban foxes, which have been fed and is now always in our garden looking for food. Our cats do chase the foxes out of their space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I don't believe I've seen a fox since we moved here ..... regularly used to see them in our previous suburban environment.

      Delete
  4. That is sad & although my blackbirds make one heck of a mess, they keep the pests down. My lucky sighting last week, were 2 King Parrots munching on olives in our olive tree, but I wasn't quick enough to go fetch camera. They & I stayed about 7/8 minutes & they knew I was there, but were disturbed by a couple of (probably) blackbirds, that I couldn't see well as the sun was over that side of the yard. Hope you don't lose anything else to the cats, which here must either be kept indoors or in a cat proofed yard. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan, the blackbirds are brilliant at dealing with slugs and snails. How wonderful to see the parrots in your garden - not one I am going to add to my birding list in Cumbria!

      Interesting that in Australia cats are prevented from roaming and decimating wildlife - but I've always thought you guys have a much better approach to protecting your natural species than we do. xx

      Delete
  5. I do agree with the dog v cat problem especially when cats use our flower beds as a favourite toilet.

    ReplyDelete

I love receiving your comments, you know I do, and always try to respond to each and every one.

Sometimes it is the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊


(comments are automatically moderated on posts over a week old, I'll free them from Comment Prison as soon as I see them 😱 )