|One of the many design modifications|
|I'll get to those nuts somehow - and he did! |
One leg holds the tray one leg holds one of
my deterrent screws!
We have in our garden a bird table and hanging from it a bird feeder which we regularly fill with nuts and seeds. It is visited by a variety of birds – nothing extravagant just ordinary garden birds – sparrows, a couple of robins, blue tits and so on. In recent weeks the local pigeon has begun to take an interest in it and slowly but surely he has taken it over. He’s far too big to access the roofed bird table, he devours the nuts and bread that we throw on the lawn and has now turned his attention to the bird feeder. Because of his huge size if he tries to land on the feeder it swings like some deranged pendulum and he has to twist himself into all sorts of positions to access the nuts. But, not to be beaten, and as the days and weeks have passed, like a well drilled SAS officer he has honed his skills and can now cling on precariously for hour after hour while he empties the feeder completely of its nuts and seeds. He leaves nothing for the smaller birds and his size prevents others of his smaller brethren using the feeder as he sits and gobbles. When the feeder is empty, like some lumbering, overweight behemoth flaps his wings to struggle slowly into the air – like a heavily laden B47 bomber his hold filled.
|And I'll use my wings to help!|
The passing days have seen me plan and execute a number of design modifications to the feeder – each one calculated to counteract the latest pigeon strategy. First I put Velcro around the cylinder in which the nuts and seeds are held. The Velcro had some short screws protruding out of it to gently prod the pigeon in his huge flank as he clung onto the feeding tray at the bottom of the feeder. This plan didn’t work – he simply used his body mass to push the screws out of the way. Something more brutal and solid was needed. So next, used the drainage holes in feeder tray to insert short screws to put him off landing. This failed miserably – he completely ignored them. Even though each time he left the feeder he also left a few feathers - he was obviously quite happy to sacrifice these to fill his belly. I drilled the feeding tray and inserted long nails, my reasoning being that these would surely put him off landing whilst but still allow smaller birds to land. If he did alight on the feeder, I reasoned, the nails would give him a sharp reminder of where he was. It had a small success but temporary only. He soon learned to calculate exactly where to land in order to minimise the impact of the nails. He could also now stand one footed on the rim of the feeding tray and use his other foot as a counterbalance holding onto one of my deadly nails! That incensed me – I became convinced he was having a laugh at my expense! Clearly this called for a further refinement so I added more nails. In response he became more skilful yet and I swear sat and mocked me as I peered out of the kitchen window! There was a limit to how many nails I could insert if other birds were still to use the feeder – another plan was needed.
After a few nights lying awake at night pondering my next plan a trip to the local DIY store was undertaken. I came back with what I thought was my master stroke, something that would surely win the battle – some very long bolts and a metal ring that would enclose the cylinder and prevent a large bird like him getting close to the seed. I sat at our garden table constructing my metal cage and fitting it to the feeder. He sat on my garage roof watching and nodding his head as he worked out his strategy. At last it was finished. Initially it was successful – it certainly prevented him landing easily and undoubtedly made it more difficult but by the time that I woke next morning and stood in the kitchen making the first cup of tea of the day he had cracked it – he perched regally, his legs spread eagled over two of the bolts, his head twisted under him as he thrust his beak into the seed tray. It was at this point that I resorted to banging on the window and running outside in my dressing gown. He merely rose majestically up to the garage roof and looked down at me savouring his victory. Had I had a shot gun at that point I might have used it!
|And I'll invite my friend for lunch - just to raise |
your blood pressure even more
The grudging respect that we have developed for each other means that I now throw seeds on the grass for him – he can compete there with the rest of the birds. He gobbles them up but all the time keeping a watchful eye on the full feeder swinging tantalisingly above his head. I don’t know what curses pigeons use but I’m pretty sure he is cursing me. I might feel smug at my “success” such as it is, but the battle is not, I know, over. I may have temporarily beaten him but even as I write this I can see him hanging upside down clinging to the wire network which is supposed to deter him as he stretches to find a weak spot and an access so that he can nibble at the few seeds that smaller birds have left in the tray at the bottom of the feeder. Earlier, I watched as he squeezed himself under the network in a vain effort to get to one of the bottom feeding holes – I cannot fault his perseverance. He will, I am sure, like a determined terrorist eventually find a way through my latest security systems and added to that I know that what I have created is not the finished article. The net will, in time, rot and lose its tension and I know that he will be back even more determined to exploit any weak links in the system. I’m already planning my next refinement and have a plan which I will put into operation after my next visit to the DIY store. And I know that he will be waiting to test it out. I may have won this battle but I know that I haven’t won the war! I have a very formidable foe!