Silent Spring

I gave up on growing cherries for myself a few years back. Tired of having to net trees from birds and having them crack with untimely rain.

I was just eating some from a couple of trees in my nursery and have been seeing them hanging fully ripened on unprotected trees at a few sites I’ve been to last few days.

There seems to be very few of the usual fruit thieving birds this year. On my site that would include robins orioles and catbirds as well as others I can’t identify. I’m seeing very few of them this year and it isn’t because I’ve been spraying trees with DDT (yes the title of the thread was in reference to Rachel Carson’s book).

As a fruit grower I’m glad but the rest of me is somewhat concerned. Anyone noticing a similar population crash where they are.

The bird populations are thriving here. Maybe they all decided to take a trip out west. :slight_smile:


They all moved south for the summer.

all in my neighbors yard, she’s a birder, has at least 1/2 dozen feeders up. sigh

Lots of birds at my place this year, but I have the most diverse area for miles in terms of shrubs and trees. I have some type of thrushes around this year, very talkative and a huge vocabulary. Fun to listen to.

I stopped filling my feeders at the end of winter. I have so many danged birds in my yard I can’t keep them out of my trees. As soon as I pick my last fruits, I’ll refill the feeders. In fact, I had to shut one of our windows as we had a Mockingbird that decided he needed to sing at the top of his lungs around 2:00 am this morning.

Thing I hate about bird feeders is that one way or another the lion’s share goes to rodents I don’t want. Even if the vermin can’t reach a well designed feeder the birds inevitably wind up knocking lots of seed to the ground.

My father always maintained bird feeders and hummingbird feeders in Topanga. The rats and squirrels were thankful and very present.

He was obsessed with birds and bird watching- often had a pair of binoculars around his neck and ran the local bird count for a number of years for the Audubon Foundation.

I prefer to plant my food for birds.

True, Alan. And for us, where there are rodents, there are then snakes. Even with my snake fencing up. It’s a trade off for sure. I have lots of plants for my resident and non-resident birds, but the feeders are right up near my kitchen window, which is fun to watch.

I’ve never heard of snake fencing.

me either. I did hear one time that snakes would not/didn’t like to go over sisal rope, but I think a study proved that an urban myth. What is snake fencing hoosier?

It is 4’ tall 1/4’ hardware cloth, Murky & Jeff. We also call it snake fencing when we talk to fencing folks :slight_smile: Many of the houses here in my development have it around their metal fencing the surrounds their inner yards (we’re all on at least an acre). So, my metal and chainlink fencing all the way around my inner yard is lined with this hardware cloth. Snakes, clever and large ones, can still shimmy up 4’ of hardware cloth, or find the “chinks in the armor” where we’ve had to bend it around plants or roots.

Add a tablespoon of fresh cayenne powder to the feeder about once per month. The birds can’t taste it and the rodents don’t like it – unless there are no other food sources around.

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Lots of birds here in Maryland. Three nests in my orchard so far this year, thats about the usual. I pull out nesting if I see it before its done, but once its done the birds win. I had house wrens in one of my (un-set) squirrel traps, thats a first on that.

Richard, I once made an extremely hot spray from pulverized Habanero seeds in an attempt to keep squirrels from eating my green peaches. Seemed to have no affect whatsoever. I’m surprised it would work in holding them back from seeds in such a dilute application.

You are getting ten or more times the pepper on seeds vs peaches, they are small so more surface area per volume. The old cubed vs squared thing.

One TBS a month without a sticker? I’m not so sure, but it is a good point.

Habanero seed is much, much hotter than cayenne and that spray was thick. I wouldn’t have been able to eat those peaches, but a TBS of cayenne would help just a pound of bird seed go down for me. .

I referenced an article the other day in another thread that tied declines in bird populations to Cicada emergence. I’m at work on my phone but I think it was in the hungry cicada thread.

My neighbors cherries are ripening up and some have been taken but I have been able to pick some from the branches in my yard. Unusual.

We feed birds and there are less Jays this year. Plenty of starlings and HOSP. Few grackles but that may be because I feed safflower only. They don’t like it and neither do squirrels. I tasted it once, its like rancid milk. Squirrels also leave suet alone as an occasional c&s hot pepper cake has taught them not to try it.

(Hubby and I have both got it in eyes/nose after filling and wow, it HURTS.)

Rabbits have been horrible this year… i still have 2 more to catch…they won’t leave my yard and still are feeding on the flowers, yet the yard is full of clover. I don’t like them. They are almost tame…now they just keep eating even when i walk by them. The little one was in my live trap last night eating apples but he was so small the trap wouldn’t go off…well later his buddy hopped inside and set it off…

Lots of birds, but mostly just robins and sparrows…a few cardinals…i did see a humming bird around. A catbird was here earlier but i haven’t seem him lately.

Next i need to trap 2 or 3 squirrels that are hanging around.

Ok, I’ll admit my feeders are small. They hold maybe a pint of bird seed. Also my rodent pressure is primarily from rats, not squirrels.

In addition, I set up the feeder where there is line-of-sight view from tall trees. It is a raptor feeder more than a bird feeder. When a suitable number of Morning Doves are present, a local raptor will cry out and at least one of the stupid birds flies directly into the house or fence, knocking itself out. Free lunch. Late at night I’ve been awakened by a rodent squeal and then hear the heavy beating of owl wings carrying it away.

The birds I enjoy having around for their insect appetite – jays, western orioles, mockingbirds – they don’t seem to bother with the feeder. As for @hoosierquilt’s comment about mockingbird songs – I grew up with them out in Redlands CA. If I hear them at night, I can just start listening to their song and fall asleep within a few minutes. :smile:

They might have found other food supplies. I have trouble with birds up until middle of July when the wild bushes along the fields start producing berries. I have no idea why they prefer the wild berries over my fruits. Maybe they are softer and juicier? They certainly are smaller, so maybe that is easier for them. Whatever it is, I wish there was something wild for them in June. That would be rather early for my climate.