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Pet People

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Need Bird Nest Advice

Many of you love to feed the birds and take care of them--almost like pets.

Every year flycatchers build nests somewhere on our house, usually over an outdoor light fixture or under the eaves of the house. Ever year I worry about the baby birds until they fly off. One year there was a nest on above the apartment, and I worried the babies would fly down to where the cats could get them, but they made it. Other years they built in the carport above the light by the back door, where I could watch from my kitchen sink window, or above the downspout.

This year I noticed one on the back side of the apartment, a perfect location as its outside both the cats' and dogs' yard area. However, yesterday I just noticed one in the MIDDLE of our deck, which is covered with a roof. The nest is on top of a light fixture. This freaks me out, because when the baby birds decide to fly the coop they will most likely land ON the deck or IN the back yard, which is prime DOG territory! I was sitting out yesterday and noticed mama bird sitting on the nest, and I also noticed that Scooter noticed!

I do not want to be traumatized by seeing one of the dogs nab a baby, as the mother watches! The dogs will DEFINITELY notice once the babies are born and start chirping! They can't get to them while they are in the nest, but what about when they fly out? I have no idea what I can do--if anything--other than hope and pray the babies fly away when the dogs are in the house.

The Boss, of course, thinks I am nuts to worry, but I worry any way. One year he was working on the house in the carport area, and I made him take several breaks so the mama bird could come in and feed the babies that were very hungry. He was ticked off, but I told him he couldn't be out there for hours right by the next banging away, as the mother would not fly in to feed them when he was there! He bitched and moaned, but took the breaks!

Any ideas on what I can do if anything? I'll take a picture once they are born. I never tear down nests built on the house, but if I would have noticed this one being started, I would have prevented it from being built in the first place!

posted by Sandy at 5/22/2007 08:37:00 AM


Blogger Skeeter said...

Ah Sandy, those sneaky birds! I have the same problems on my porch eaves and hanging plants. I fear I will drown the babies when watering the plants, the Eastern Phoebes try to nest on the eaves of the porch and they use that bright red Georgia Clay mud which stains. So I try to persuade the birds from nesting on the porch and in the plants....

This is a struggle each year and you must stay on your toes or you will have babies before you know it! I try to get to the nest before they have completed the structure. They may try to rebuild but if you are persistent in removing it, they will finally find a new place to build. I don’t have a problem taking down a nest because we have woods all around us for them to build nest. My porch belongs to me! But we never destroy a completed nest. They work to hard and I just cannot do that to them.

For the hanging plants, I put rubber snakes in them. But I must move them around in different positions occasionally because the birds are smart and realize they are harmless. I also have a plastic owl that moves all over the porch as well. But you have to remember to move it around or they will build a nest on the owls head! A swinging tin pie pan is a deterrent if you can stand the Redneck look and noise it can make.

Now once you have eggs in the nest, I suggest you make sure what kind of birds they are and keep a close eye on when they hatch. You can look in a bird book or on the internet and find out how long before they are expected to fledge. Some birds leave after 14 days and some as soon at 10 days. Once you decide what type of bird they are, you can keep up with the days since hatching and then keep the dogs and cats at bay until you know they have fledged on day number whatever. Some babies take off into the trees while other fall straight to the ground so a watchful eye of a dog or cat will pounce as it is there nature. I recently read that only 25% of baby birds make it each year.

Two years ago we found a completed nest full of Wren eggs by our boat motor. We were headed to the lake and were upset as to how to handle this situation. Upon some thought, we carefully removed the nest intact and placed it on top of a hanging ladder located by the boat. Then we took off to the lake. We worried about the eggs all day long and even cut our trip short due to worry. We returned to a nest with eggs and no mommy. The next day I checked on the eggs and found mommy sitting on them! Mommy was probably on them the day before while we were at the lake but she flew off before we saw her. We watched the progress from eggs to fledglings and I snapped a lot of pictures… We have to keep a close eye on the boat until fall as some birds nest late in the year.

So far we do not have any nest on the boat or the porch but the season is far from over and I have to remember to keep up my guard!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I know the bird is a fly catcher, as they come ever year. I thought about moving the nest, but am not sure how far away from it's original spot would be okay. Also, isn't it sort of "stuck" in place that if I moved it it wouldn't be stable? I'm hoping it's one of those nests they build and then don't use--you know, they "choose" one of a few they've made. I haven't noticed the mother today at all. I will have to be more vigilant next timea and try some of the methods to keep them away!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Just a note to let ya'all know this will probably be the last entry for me for a few days. We have to be at Vanderbuilt in the morning at 5:00a.m. FLy Boy's surgery is at 7:00a.m. Please do keep him in your prayers, we're both a bit nervous right now. I'll be back after we get home which we hope will be Friday or Saturday. If I get the chance I'll get back on here to day good night later but if not you guys have a fantastic time at the cook out and we'll join you next time.
Oh year, we took a lot of things up for the Cats Are Us yard sale as usual. We even had a couple of pretty good bikes and another small TV, hope they get a decent price for everything.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

P.S. Sandy, good luck with your birds, sorry I don't know anything to help.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Pam, the Saint and I will be thinking about you guys with our fingers crossed and our prayers are with you both! Hang in there...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

In one of my bird books it shows several different fly catchers. I am assuming that the one you have is the great crested flycatcher….?.... It could also be the Eastern Phoebe as they fall in the fly catcher category. Unfortunately, the flycatcher has a gap in flying the coup. Once hatched, the fledglings leave the nest 12-18 days later.... Usually you can guess in a day or two but in this case, you have a 6-day period to watch. Ouch, that will make it tough on you to catch them fledging.....

If by some luck they are Eastern Phoebes, they fledge in15-16 days from hatching.... Either way these are great birds to have around as they eat tons of bugs around your house!

If there are no eggs in the nest yet, take them down as it would be better for them to nest elsewhere then to be a meal for a dog or cat. Could you imagine watching one of your babies being ate up? The mommy and daddy birds are never too far away and they would see this happen. I cannot imagine what goes through their heads when seeing something as awful as that happen…. So if there are no eggs in the nest, I would suggest tearing them down and placing fake snakes in the area.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:51:00 PM  
Blogger O'Malley said...

We will be busy saying prayers for Fly Boy. I was going to ask if you were going to be at the memorial tomorrow but obviously you are not. Please let us know how the surgery went as soon as you can.
Sandy, good luck. I have similar problems when birds build anywhere close to our house.Everything is peachy until the babies start fluttering about and them my Mo-Jo Jo-Jo wants to eat them. I try to keep an eye on her but she is just a serious hunter and doesn't differentiate between adult things and baby things. It breaks my heart. Twice I have found baby bunnies that she had killed. The first time I sobbed for hours and just couldn't get the thought of the bunnies from my mind. I know she is just being a cat but it still tears me up.
Tomorow we are having a dog visitor.My daughter knows some one who is deploying and must find a home for their boxer.She suggested we take a look and see what we thought. I am still very apprehensive and not sure if I am ready for another dog yet.I am afraid I am going to meet this doggie and my heart is just going to melt. Or what if my kitties don't like it and I have to tell its owner we can't take it? I am very torn.I guess my heart will know what to do when we meet it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:10:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

That's the key, Shannon. You can't make a decision on this, you just have to feel it. If it is right, you will know. Period. I wasn't "ready" when I adopted Lucy either. It had been 10 months since my Dixie died, and I was still heart broken. Too long of a story for right now, but just realize that I wasn't interested in another dog. But, when I met Lucy, SHE was ready. She needed me to be her mommy more than I needed to not replace Dixie. She adopted me. So, just remember, if it is meant to be, you will feel it.

Pam and Flyboy, we will be thinking good thoughts. You have all my numbers. Please, if I can do anything for you here while you are in Nashville, please let me know.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Hey guys, getting ready to go to bed, got to get up at 3:00a.m. but wanted to check in one last time. Thank you all so much for the support and prayers, they mean more than I can tell you. Sure is nice to know my new friends are ones I can count on in times of need. Please know I am there for each and every one of you in any situation you need me too!
I will return soon as I can and hopefully with the news that FLy Boy will be returning to his beloved "Little Bird" really soon. Again thank you! Love to all of you!
Pam and Fly Boy

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Pam, Flyboy will do well with flying colors! You'll probably have to wait on him hand and foot for a bit,right? Don't let him take advantage!We'll be thinking of you both and praying for a quick recovery.

Shannon, you will know when you meet the dog if it's right. I must say one thing that I don't understand. The Boss is retired military and I served almost 8 years, so I am by no means anti-military, but I am so upset that so many military families give up pets when the PCS or deploy. I believe people who aren't willing to do what it takes to keep a pet, or think they might not be able to take care of a pet for its entire life because of unexpected military duties, should not get one until they are permanant settled. That's why our area has a bigger problem than most, as moving is the number one reason people give for giving up pets, and military people move the most.

Skeeter, my birds are are Eastern Phoebes I am pretty sure. I can't see in the nest, even if I get on a ladders, as it's high and close to the roof of the deck, so my head can't get high enough to see in. I noticed an adult sitting on the fence, but haven't seen one in the nest since the first day I noticed it. The one I saw on the fence could be the parent of the other nest at the end of the apartment, which is in a safer area.

The dogs stay in the house after I go to work, so I think I can keep them away if I am vigilant. Other years I've seen the babies fly out of the next and go pretty far. If I could see them fly and they don't make it out of the yard, I can always maybe shoo them out. But as you said, they are pretty big and flopping around in the nest before they fly. I'm hoping the mother abandoned the nest. Don't they sometimes build a few and then choose one? Or the male builds and the female choses?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Ooh....I like that. The male does the work and the female makes the decisions. All is right in birdland. Right, wenches???

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger O'Malley said...

Sandy, you are so right about the military. I hope no one thinks I am talking down about the military but it upsets me also. One positive thing about this person is that he has some time before he goes and he is working on finding a home now.We have heard of others who wait until a day or so before leaving and then taking the dog to a shelter. We also had one dumb-*ss that would not even try to find a home for the dog. He felt that no one could give it a good home so he took it to the shelter knowing that more than likely it would be put to sleep. I agree that morons like that should not be allowed to have pets.

Our dog visitor did not come over yesterday. I think it might happen today. I will let ya'll know what happens.

Stacey I like your birdland scenario. What do we need to feed the boys to make this occur? Mines been spplimenting with Bud select and I think it is causing him to stray way far off the birdland mark haha.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:21:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Shannon, if the dog is right you will know! I do hope the dog is right for your family as I know you will be a great family for the needy baby. Pet of the day in our paper today was a boxer and I thought of you! This was a beautiful animal and I am sure someone adopted it from that wonderful picture. I am glad the paper post Pet of the day!

I told y'all of my bunny problem with one eating my flowers; well yesterday the Saint discovered the worse. A dead baby bunny just as you mentioned Shannon. I was so upset and sure that CC (Christmas Cat) the cat next door had done the bad deed as he hangs out in that area of our yard. Don’t get my wrong, I love those neighbors and that cat but it just boggles my mind as to why they allow their animals to wander around in the wild especially with coyotes running around amongst other harmful critters! If I wanted a cat to stay in my yard, I would go out and get one! Argggggg....

I later on saw what I now assume to be the mommy bunny laying under a tree in our back yard. I wonder if she even knew about her baby being taken away. I am not sure how long baby bunnies stay with the mommy. Anyone know???

I know what y’all mean about some military people being so quick to abandon pets with deployments and PCS’s. The military knows people have pets and they do not allow for travel or accommodations for the pets. Why doesn’t the military have some type of program for animals? Remember us sneaking Skeeter into the military quarters in Germany? Again they do not allow pets when most every hotel in Germany allows pets. Why don’t they accommodate pets with transfers??? We always think of our animals before anything and the Saint passed up on a job offer in England due to the fact that I refused to put Skeeter into a either 6 month or 1 year quarantine, I cannot remember which but anyway, I would not allow my baby to be put in jail! I wish someone would spearhead a program for military pets…..

Ah, the phoebes are not so bad of a bird. We allow them to nest in our open garage each year. This year however, once the nest was built, we found what we assume to be one of the nest builders dead on the garage floor! Again, I think that CC is to blame! Dam pesky neighbor cat! The phoebe will take the baby's poop sacks out of the nest keeping it clean and once they hatch, you will have lots of natural bug repellant as they eat tons of bugs. All we can do is the best we can do for the wildlife such as birds but nature will takes it course and some will die… Not sure if the Phoebe builds several nest or not but the Wren does and even lays a decoy egg at times to deter others from nesting in the area!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I used to raise Mini Lop rabbits in high school for 4-H. They stay with there mother until they are about 8-10 weeks old. Then usually she will start kicking them out. They will stay around and build a "family" unit for a while but eventually they all wonder off. You will know if it is the mother b/c she will have little to no hair on her chest. They pull it out to make a nest for the babies. Rabbits are the only animal that I know of that can get pregnant while still pregnant, hence the term "breeding like rabbits". I'm glad humans aren't like that!

Skeeter, The reason the military doesn't think about a family's pet is because they didn't isssue it to them. When you are part of the military you become military property. I was raised in the military and heard a C.O. tell a GI "If the military wanted him to have a wife and a family they would have issed it to him."

Thursday, May 24, 2007 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Well, I saw Mama bird sitting in the next, so I guess there are eggs and it's the house they chose. I will just have to do my best to help them.

I think I will write a column about the military situation and pets. The post should be the ones taking abandoned pets. Does anyone know anything about the shelter on post? Size? How many pets they accept?

Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:08:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I know Adrienne, the military does seem to own us. That is one reason that the Saint got out of the Air Force but he still works with the Army daily and even though he is a contractor, they still think they own him!

I am not sure if the bunny has a hairy chest or not. I have been chasing her out of the garden today so she may not get too close to me anymore. I hate to chase her off but she is eating all my beautiful flowers! I will just deal with her the best I can. I should just plant her a small garden for herself but I bet she would still get into mine! I am learning what she eats so next year, I will not have those things….

I think I told y’all a while back about the dead Phoebe in the garage after the fully built nest on the eave… Well, today the Saint carefully took down the abandon nest and there were two little dead eggs in it! It made me so sad to see them. I know that CC cat got the bird as he gets on our cars in the garage… I wish that CC would stay in his own yard!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:00:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Skeeter, I have heard that human hair is a good deterrent for rabbits, or if you can find fox urine. You may be able to find it at a local nursery or sporting goods store. There really isn't much a rabbit won't eat. I used to bring mine in the house occasionally and they would chew on everything and eat just about anything. I even had one that tried chew on a clay pot. So I don't think it will matter much what you plant, they will find something they like about it. There are a few web sites that carry a granular that you can sprinkle that's supposed to help, but I have never tried it and I prefer a more natural solution.

I am having a problem with aphids right now, so last night I called 5 different nurseries and none of them knew about ladybugs or green lacewings. They wanted to know why I want to buy more bugs for my garden. People here are all about pesticides. Yuck! Not with my babies in the backyard!

Friday, May 25, 2007 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Now although Shannon and I are both Army wives ( well I'm a ret. one )we still can agree how too many military people do leave pets behind to fend for themselves. But there are just as many civilians taht do it too and don't even get me started on the ones I know about cause it's too upsetting to talk a bout and I'm still too stressed to get into it now. Wheter military or not, it's just wrong to leave or dump animals!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Adrienne, I dont think I am going to cut my hair to get rid of the bunny. How do I get a passing fox to pee in a cup for me??? LOL...I am thinking that the bunny may win this battle...

Monday, May 28, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Skeeter, Funny Ha-ha. Go to a beaty salon and ask for a bag of hair. The Foreman says you can get this stuff called Tinks at a sporting goods store. He says it's a fox cover up sent.(spray fox pee) I'd try it before you let bunny win the battle.

Monday, May 28, 2007 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Ah, I will try to find the Tinks at one of our several sporting goods stores here.... Thanks for the info Adrienne!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 2:17:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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