If you’ve ever seen my Flickr stream you might realize I’m quite fond of birds.
Even here in Zone 2 there are a lot of birds around—especially in our garden. Blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, robins, dunnocks, goldfinches, wrens, chaffinches, blackbirds, sparrows… Lots of birds.
We encourage them, too. We’ve got bird feeders and suet block and fat ball holders. Jenny gave me a bird cam one Christmas, and a birdbath to point it at on my following birthday.
We also have pigeons.
Lots of fat flipping pigeons.
You might say, a plague of pigeons, and you wouldnt be far off. It is London, after all.
And I hate the little bastards. They crap over the garden furniture, they walk all over and wreck the young plants, and they will systematically empty the bird feeders in one sitting.
So there has been a bit of a war going on in our back yard. It’s not going well.
I’m not here all the time to try to blind them with my laser pointer. We’re too close to the road to use an air rifle. And every modification of the feeders to try to discourage them has failed. Pointy spikes on the top, strategic Sellotape on the squirrel-proof sides—none of this works. (And it’s ugly, too).
The first iteration of our feeders were standard, cageless things with little perches. The problem with that was the squirrels, and that no matter how short the perches were, the pigeons could still hold on and knock the seeds out of the feeder. That’s why we got the ones with cages and, watching the songbirds, it’s clear that they like to go inside the cage and peck—so maybe, suggested Jenny, we should get a bigger cage. Fine, I said, can you find somewhere that sells them?
So Jenny googled for pigeon-proof bird feeders, and stumbled across this post by IanVisits (who I know from Twitter, as it happens) from a year ago, in which he describes how he overcame exactly this problem. Briefly, he got some plant supports and turned his feeder into Pinhead. “What an excellent notion!” we opined, and set off across the River to locate some green sticks of anti-pigeoness.
And here we are:
So far, we haven’t yet seen any pigeons try to get in, and the songbirds seem delighted, and—more to the point—able to feed in safety and comfort.
Better living through technology. Thanks Ian!