Since we moved to this location (edge of town) 5 years ago and began feeding the garden birds and planting bird-friendly trees and shrubs, we have had an increase in variety of birds certainly, particularly goldfinches, house sparrows, tits occasional goldcrests, blackcaps and the odd woodpecker. Many nest in the garden. Last year we had several blackbird nests, dunnocks, longtailed tits and robins also nested in the boxes provided.
However, we have also noticed that there has been a definite increase in crows (never seen until last year and now at least five regulars), sparrowhawks, and peregrine falcons, seen on at least 3 occasions taking blue tits, blackbirds, collared doves and woodpigeons. Magpies too are on the increase so it seems that by encouraging the songbirds which we love, we are also providing a feeding station for the predatory birds too. I know that it is 'nature' but feel disheartened and responsible when so many of the little species are taken.
I cover the entrance to the nest boxes with hanging baskets to keep out the large birds but does anyone have any other ideas to protect them?
It's going to happen I suppose. If you put food out that attracts the birds you want to see and they turn up then the ones that you don't want to see will turn up too. I try to protect my feeders from Sparrow Hawk and Cat attack by careful placement vut theey still manage to get them from time to time. Nasty as it is, it is nature.
In reply to labeline:
Don't feel guilty jennywren.
Predators are an essential component of a functioning ecosystem and their presence indicates that your local environment is basically in good health. Bird feeders attract opportunist predators but they also provide an important lifeline for small birds in hard times and sustain more lives than are cut short by Magpies and Sparrowhawks. Placement of feeders can make a big difference to the success rate of predator attacks but different approaches are needed depending on whether it's cats or Sparrowhawks you're trying to discourage.
And few could argue that a Sparrowhawk isn't a thing of beauty.....
Every day a little more irate about bird of prey persecution, and I have a cat - Got a problem with that?
In reply to John B (not the sloop):
Predators have to eat too! And they tend to take the weaker/older individuals anyways, so if anything, they're making your population of garden birds healthier by picking off the weak ones! I'd be mega happy to get Sparrowhawk or Peregrine in my garden! Count yourself lucky!!
Home again, home again.
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