In my last post here on HT, "Pole Systems and Bird Feeders (The SAGA Continues)" on August 22nd 2013) I ended by saying:
"Believe it or not, my saga on how to accommodate Cam and Mac (for I still hope they will return) with my feeders still continues! My next step will be to add seed hoops below my feeders which someone is giving me for my birthday. This "device" should catch most of the seeds that fall, which hopefully will deter the pigeons!
Then there is always the hope that Cam and Mac will begin to trust the perches on my feeders, feeders designed to meet their needs! Stay tuned, as "they" say, even though it's beginning to sound like a soap opera, but I find it a better thing to think about than the daily grind issues!"
And now without further ado, please let me thank you for staying tuned and do a follow-up on the aforementioned post (which I will be doing in three separate posts as there is a great deal of info) but, before I begin today's entry, I want to thank Miriam Illions as well as Ms. Sgraviano, for their comments on that post, and, for their interest in Cam and Mac (a cardinal couple who visit my garden from time to time). I'm grateful to report that since my last posting, I've seen Cam, as well as Mac, and images of their visits from the time period of my last posting until today can be seen in pictures one through five accompanying this entry.
I am including them, dear reader, so you can get a sense of why I have been trying to find a feeding system that my cardinal couple will enjoy, as they are so adorable (and are good singers too)!
But, I have digressed, for the purpose of this post is to discuss the "seed hoops;" which I stated in my last entry, were something I anticipated receiving for my birthday (on 8-24).
However, having stated this I'd like to add that it is often said, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans," and I think the same is true for pigeons, if you want to make them laugh, tell them your plans for deterring them!
For soon after I posted my proclamation (here on HT) that a seed hoop would solve my problems, I began to realize that it was not going to stop pigeons from their efforts to nosh in my garden. And in a sense, I respect that, as I have not let things stop me from realizing my goals.
Upon closer inspection of the packaging for a seed hoop (which can be seen in image six), I noticed the artwork on the packaging shows small songbirds gathered within the hoop, and I wondered what would stop them from spilling the seeds (over the rim of the hoop) onto the ground, which would continue to entice pigeons.
This sudden insight caused me to query People for the Preservation of Pigeons where I asked them this:
"Please don't be annoyed with my question. I have a small urban garden (NYC) and for the past year northern cardinals have come here to eat. A few months ago the pigeon couple (who now bring a friend), pictured here, discovered my oasis and it seems the cardinals are intimidated by them, as they no longer come here. Do you know anything about the relationship of pigeons to cardinals?"
Their response was as follows:
"Both species are God's creatures, however, I understand your disappointment in not seeing your cardinal friends any longer. Pigeons are not aggressive by nature, and get along with all types of birds as far as I know. I don't think the cardinals felt intimidated or frightened by the pigeons presence, but they may have felt they were intruding in their space, or they may have just gone elsewhere. You may want to continue putting out food for the cardinals with the hope that they will return.
You may want to ask The Wild Bird Fund as they have more experience with wild birds."
AND, I answered:
"Thank you for your prompt answer! I know pigeons are God's creatures too AND I appreciate your mission, which is why I prefaced my question with 'Please don't be annoyed . . . ' I don't mind the pigeons coming, just not at the expense of the cardinals, particularly Cam, my female cardinal, who is the co-author of a book I hope to publish! Perhaps I'll add a chapter about pigeons!
BTW, this past July, the pigeons and my cardinal couple DID break bread together as seen here.
Moreover, I was born with Neurofibromatosis Type-One*, which is a condition that causes many tumors to appear on the body. The tumors look like lumps and bumps and I have spent a LIFE TIME fighting mean spirited comments about my appearance, including this past July when a stranger approached me near Lincoln Center and made awful remarks in the presence of my sister who was visiting from Illinois!
I share this to reassure you that I don't want to show discrimination towards the pigeons RATHER I want to find a solution.
That was the last of my correspondence with the folks at People for the Preservation of Pigeons, but it was not the last of my efforts to solve my issue. For in my googling I came across a story (NY TIMES) about a high-end real estate broker who had mastered controlling certain behaviors of pigeons (he appreciated them) in Washington Square Park, and I contacted him via the phone about my dilemma. At his request, I emailed him materials and received the following advice:
"After consulting with a number of pigeon people, and non-pigeon bird lovers, we've come up with 2 probable solutions:
1. Change your feeders to "squirrel-proof" ones, with a tray underneath to catch the seed that falls. You can also add spikes to the feeders placed at angles... Pigeons are one of the only birds that can't roost at an angle, so it will keep them off without hurting them.
2. The other option would be to find or make something shaped like a hawk with spread wings (in the attack mode). It will scare the pigeons while the smaller birds will generally ignore it (as they would with a real hawk).
I have a friend that's going to test using just a large pinwheel to see if that works...
Your only other option would be to set out some food for the pigeons away from the other feeders, but the 4 you have might start inviting family!"
I truly appreciated the time that this man took to look into my situation and I let him know that I was grateful for his efforts but I ultimately had to continue looking for another solution.
For one thing, squirrel proof feeders have been suggested to me in the past (which I discussed in my post on 8-22), and they are not an option in my situation. Moreover, placing spikes on my feeders did not sound like a task I could do as I am NOT too handy, rather, I am like HT's techie Yair, who, regarding home improvement, has stated (in his bio), "I usually leave it to my sons. I'm all thumbs!"
I have no sons — or daughters for that matter — to leave home improvement tasks to; therefore, the task of deterring pigeons remained mine, and I continued with my quest for a solution.
But, getting back to the real-estate broker/pigeon expert, another thing that I could not bring into action was the idea of putting up an artifact of a hawk in attack mode. This is not something I wanted to try as I did not want to frighten Cam, Mac or any of my smaller songbirds even though I had been informed by him that "the smaller birds will generally ignore it."
However, I had to do something drastic to attack my pigeon problems; not only were these birds taking food away from my smaller ground feeding birds (image eight), they were — in spite of how innocent they look (images seven and nine) — uprooting my creeping ginger vine which Juan V planted in my Kiwi's container this past August, and they completely destroyed two containers of lavender! A pigeon can be seen (in photo ten) eyeing one of my lavender plants, one that he/she'd already begun to tear apart.
So what is a gardener (as in yours truly) who is not very handy to do in terms of deterring pigeons while keeping Cam, as well as Mac, and smaller songbirds interested in noshing in her garden?
I think I may finally have found the solution, a solution that (so far) has not involved replacing my feeders, rather a solution that has involved modifying my rain (CB feeder) as well as my shine (WBUSS Feeder) which are the feeders I discussed in my first entry here on HT! Does this mean I've come full circle?
Be that as it may, I'll tell you how I modified my rain and shine feeders (as well as what I hope to do with my seed hoop) in parts two and three of my "Catching crumbs that fall to the floor" entry.
Catching "Crumbs That Fall to the Floor" Followup #1 (To 8-22's Post)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Published September 6th, 2013 2:00 AM