Watch the Birdy

We found this lovely little nest lying in the road yesterday – no sign of any carnage, but that doesn’t mean anything. But then, we’ve reached the time of year when if you worry too much about all the baby birds there are around, you will go mad.

However, we do feel we have a particular duty of care to the swallows. One of the remoter outposts of the other half’s shed empire has been given over to their nesting activities. For the last couple of years, apart from the small matter of the poo, all has gone well. But this year, the neighbour’s cat has grown from cute kitten to fully fledged killer and it appears to have taken up birdwatching as a hobby.* The swallows swooping around the courtyard drive it into a tail-twitching frenzy and it’s quickly learned that they have to fly in and out of the shed via the top window, so that is where it sits, waiting for an opportunity to pounce. The swallows had noticed too and after we’d seen them making a sudden u-turn at the approach to the window, I decided it was time to act.

You can’t train a cat, and the jet of the hose doesn’t quite reach that window anyway, so more direct measures were called for. It’s kept the cat away from the window, although – as the swallows have also been known to slip through a gap in the door – she’s still hopeful.

It might turn out to be a long and stressful summer.

*If you’re interested in other sinister birdwatching activities, ahem, may I direct you the side bar? Just a thought

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6 Responses to Watch the Birdy

  1. WOL says:

    Predators will be predators. Setting up a gauntlet for the parent birds to have to run is not good, but she’d have to be sharp to catch a swallow on the wing.

  2. The Paper Boy says:

    We have a pair of tits (blue) making sexy time in our birdbox just now… last count there were 6 eggs in there (box has a camera in it) – their major foe seems to be a sparrow that wants to muscle in on the premises but is being kept out by the galvanised “no spuggies” door policy.

    Must look into high def for next year.

  3. disgruntled says:

    WOL – my main concern was the parents abandoning the nest, although now she can’t sit on the window ledge any more they seem okay
    Paperboy – nestcam! We need one of those, if only to amuse the cat at a safe distance. Watch out for squirrels.

  4. The Paper Boy says:

    It can be done (in durable hardwood) for under £50 including the birdbox… so don’t be tempted to buy one of those £200 camera-enabled boxes.

    I took the BTO nestbox design and modded it to include an additional 3 inches or so of “loft space” (for mounting the camera & the LED lighting gantry).

    Camera is a 1/3″ CCD job from Hong Kong (via eBlag – example http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300509987728), high brightness white LEDs for the lights (sanded the fronts lightly to scatter the light more), all mounted in a Meccano frame that sits in the top of the box.

    I suspect in the shed empire your better half has the wherewithal to knock one up…

  5. […] door to the swallow shed closed up so the cat can’t get in and we’ll be building up the anti-cat defences on the windows too so she doesn’t snag herself a baby one as they emerge for their first flight. So now all […]

  6. […] swallow shed, where the second broods are busy making a squawking racket, and the rival delights of Swallow TV drew her over. She does love to sit on the windowsill and watch them flying around inside but the […]

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