Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Birds

Just after we moved in to our new house we noticed that several varieties of birds have, at one time or another, nested in our eaves (because they are particularly suited to nesting).  Based on some bird dropping patterns I was relatively certain that at least one or two of the nesting sites were still at least partially active.  Even worse than the presence of some kind of generic nesting bird is that there was a fair bit to indicate that the droppings leavers were in fact a pair of pigeons.

Unfortunately, because of the snow and ice that we've had until quite recently (and still have in a few areas of our backyard) we were unable to do much about rendering our eaves less inhabitable until quite recently.

Yesterday, just as we were thinking of tackling the problem, we noticed that what we hoped was a dormant nesting site was actually active and growing quite quickly.  Somehow in the hours since we'd last been through our back door the pigeons had carried all kinds of sticks and twigs to the nest (and quite a number ended up on the ground below the nest).

Clearly this was something that did merit our attention immediately.

Of course, once we had our extension ladder in place it became clear that it was hilariously short and was clearly not going to be of much use when it came to removing the nests and affixing chicken wire to prevent the return of any future nests.  Fortunately, our neighbours, who were just about as anxious as we were to not have pigeons roosting in the neighbourhood, loaned us their taller extension ladder.

First I had to remove the previously installed pigeon deterrent mesh (that was obviously no longer serving its original purpose).  Once the old mesh and nests were cleared away I had to add new chicken wire.

Fortunately, I soon discovered that we were removing the nests before any eggs had been laid or all that much work had gone into nest preparation.

Anyway, in total we shut down about four of these nesting sites around our house.  We had to leave one that we could not reach with either of the ladders and decided not to tackle another that had non-pigeons.

While the project generally went quite smoothly, it was less than pleasant to have to deal with ancient bird excrement while on a ladder trying to juggle chicken wire, a staple gun, and a utility knife.  Fortunately I had work gloves, a mask, and safety goggles to make the process a little less unpleasant.

Ideally we might have cleaned the beams before we affixed the mesh, but unfortunately that just wasn't in the cards yesterday (though by the end of the day we did have a hose).

Of course, the real bummer of the day was that as we were preparing dinner on our barbecue we noticed that while the pigeons were no longer able to access their old roost, because of the way I'd installed the mesh on one of the alternative roost sites they were able to kind of hangout, even though it seemed to be less than idea.  Crap.

I did some more chicken wire installation today but it definitely wasn't enough - and I couldn't reach the really high parts.  Maybe when our neighbour has his ladder out I'll be able to borrow it again and fix up this beam.  The only good news is that I now have a much better sense of how I need to install the chicken wire so that the birds won't be able to make use of the site.

Of course, removing nest sites wasn't nearly the end of the bird related activity we've had this weekend.

While doing a backyard inspection and attempting to guess what be growing in our previously snow-covered yard I found a small dead bird under an evergreen.

Then, a few minutes later, while continuing my yard inspection I came across a bird skeleton that had more-or-less been picked clean by something.  I was definitely much more curious about skinned and de-fleshed bird than Jeannette.

It just seems obvious to me that one would want to know how it came to pass that this bird was left without wings, skin, feathers, or flesh, but was left with feet and tufts of down around its feet.  And does the redness suggest that the gorefest was recent?

Of course, while I may be curious to know the cause of this avian destruction, I hope that bird skeletons picked clean are not a common occurrence in our backyard.

Oh, and we've been almost overrun with all kinds of other birds, particularly robins.  At one point this evening there were about five types of birds in our backyard at the same time - and throughout the day we saw quite a few other varieties in addition to these four.  Definitely a birdy time of year.

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