Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:14 am Posts: 6 Location: Dallas,TX
-- The songbirds need some form of cover. This is true whether you're dealing with raptors, cats, or with no visible (to you) predators at all. The songbird is always aware that something else might eat it, so will want an escape route and/or some place to hide. Since the songbirds are attracted to your landscape, a way to keep them feeling more secure is to plant small trees and bushes nearby. As an example, we have a 10' tall cedar four feet from our feeders. The birds can easily hide in the leaves and branches, making it difficult for any predators to catch them.
-- Plant larger trees (or saplings that will become larger trees). Hawks and other raptors are larger (normally) than songbirds, and so not as maneuverable in close quarters. (As an analogy, think of a 747 vs. a Piper Cub airplane.) This is why you usually see them out in the open. (There are obviously exceptions, such as goshawks, etc.)
-- Realize that most predators are Not successful in the majority of their attempts to capture prey. I remember reading about predation of hawks on pigeons -- the success rate was something like once in every 27 attacks. I'm sure that hawks often "go hungry".
The next two are MY opinions, and not necessarily anyone else's -- realize where I work, but that not all Zoo keepers feel the same way I do.
-- One of the things that Howard talks about on his show is "enjoy the birds". Well, I enjoy seeing hawks and owls. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that raptors "don't eat grass". I realize that they also eat mice and rats (and am glad they do:)
Though Howard likes to say "feed the birds", I don't think this is what he had in mind.... Ultimately, this is part of Nature's design, and I try not to upset that design anymore than I have to.
-- Having held and cared for hawks and owls (and songbirds as well), I can definitely say they are magnificent and beautiful animals, just like their prey. For me, it is a wonderful thing to see them in the wild, and am thankful whenever I see them.
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:01 am Posts: 963 Location: Dallas, TX
The raptors are my favorites of all birds, but I thought the idea of blowing a loud whistle to keep them away from your songbirds was a good idea. Those of you having problems, let us know how it works in your garden.
Interesting points! On a different subject. Where I work in Arlington, there is a truck that slowly runs the parking lot every evening about 5:30 pm. It has some sort of apperatus (did I spell that right?) that screams out a repeating loud "hawk" type of sound. It is supposed to scare the pigeons and black birds away from the "strip mall" area. I also did some work at the Dallas Convention Center last year. They also have a system in place that every 30 seconds or so, CONSTANTLY screams out the same hawk sound. I asked some of the regulars about this, and they said it was to keep the pigeons away. They also said it worked for a month or so. Now, the pigeons are completely used to the noise and don't even flinch!!!! Hahaha.
I like pigeons anyways (big fat doves), I guess their poop and slight domestication is annoying to most people. Someone is making money off of this, though!!!!
Zoo Man's comments are the best answer; either add cover or move the feeders closer to cover.
Some people take down their feeders for 2-3 weeks, by which time the hawk will have probably moved to another location.
I have not seen any research on the following but the following might help.
A current recommendation for reducing window collisions is to place feeders within 2-3 feet of the house. It might be that hawks will be reluctant to fly that close to a structure in pursuit of a meal.
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 10:03 pm Posts: 57 Location: Highland Village,TEXAS
We have a sharp-shinned hawk around our place, and he/she has been around here for 6 months. I agree with what has been posted previously. They are protected birds, and I have adopted the theory of letting nature take its course. I shoo him out of the bushes every once in awhile (he/she likes my 6' Texas Sage), but I do not go out of my way to prohibit his/her hunt.
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 9:06 am Posts: 358 Location: Midlothian,TEXAS
Speaking of sharp shinned hawks. I came home one day to find an injured one on my back porch, still breathing, but not doing well. Next to him lay a dead cedar wax wing. Unfortunately the hawk died within 30 minutes.
After scratching my head for a few minutes, I put on my Sherlock hat, grabbed a pipe and went to figuring what could have happened.
The only thing I came up with is that this hawk swooped down, grabbed a wax wing (killing it on impact) and somehow he smashed himself into my glass storm-door, dropping the prey and fatally wounding himself.
Very sad. I had seen a pair of them every year until that happened. A beautiful bird.
I would gladly give up a few song birds to see them go to work, but I would rather see them grab a few squirrels. Maybe glass storm doors are a bad idea.
_________________ Listen to Neil Sperry every week, take notes... and then do the exact opposite.
If a predator sustains even a simple or temporary injury, it is often life threading. There are no easy meals like seeds at a bird feeder for the meat eaters.
As much as we would like to see all birds of prey eat squirrels and rats, you have to understand that they are bigger animals and they can have a vicious bite if not killed on impact.
An African lion, for example, given a choice, will always take a cute little baby animal vs. the larger parent.
I'ts sometimes hard not to think of nature as being cruel.
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