You have landscaped your yard into a backyard paradise for birds and local wildlife and are sitting outside enjoying the fruits of your labor when *THUD* something goes terribly wrong. Unfortunately it seems that no setup is without its obstacles to overcome, some of which can be fixed and some of which cannot. The National Audubon society has some tips on how to deal with those obstacles, to which we add some of our own suggestions and examples.
Windows 1, Birds 0
Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of seeing a bird fly full speed into a window on a clear day, and to say it is unnerving is an understatement. Sometimes the birds survive this ordeal, recover groggily, and fly off. On other occasions the birds aren’t so lucky, and they die on impact or while they are stunned on the ground they are dragged off by a waiting predator. There are several things which may help to prevent the bird vs window thud sound from happening at your home or office. Keeping feeders at least 30 feet away from windows or reflective glass may help decrease window strikes. There are various decals available to adhere to the outside of windows which will break up the scene shown on the glass and disrupt the reflection. Lastly, if the problem happens often, one might consider completely covering the problem windows with a one way decal so it no longer reflects an image at all. Lastly, and what my mother has done at her home, is hanging wind chimes near the windows. The motion, in addition to the noise and the breaking up of the reflection by the chimes, all seem to combine together to help prevent window strikes. The down side of mom’s solution is the constant noise when the wind is blowing, if you are a person who prefers quiet.
Predators on the Ground
While landscaping, installing a pond, making selections for bird feeders and suet holders and where to locate that comfortable chair to sit in while enjoying your yard, planning on watching neighborhood cats or dogs come in probably wasn’t something you had in mind. You also likely don’t want a raccoon coming by to grab a fish snack from your koi pond. PetSolutions has a great item to help with that actually, it is called a Scarecrow and is a non harmful way to discourage animals from being where they aren’t wanted. This would work well for both raccoon and cats, to keep them away from a pond or from a particular feeding area. In extreme cases, the use of a netting material over a pond may become necessary to keep out predators is the situation worsens.
When the population of birds feeding in a back yard wildlife oasis increases, one is very likely to have birds who are sick mixed in with the healthy population. Also, the possibility exists that the back yard could be the cause of certain illness if conditions in the feeding areas for birds aren’t kept clean. In these feeding areas there will be quite a bit of waste from bird poop building up, as well as having things happen like seed becoming moldy when it sits around too long without being eaten. It is important to take down your feeders from time to time and give them a thorough cleaning when needed. Use a light solution of bleach water or dish washing soap to clean the feeders or even better a dedicated cleaner such as Poop Off, and clean up excessive amounts of empty seed husks or spilled seed on occasion to help prevent the spread of disease.
Doing these few things can help keep a homeowner enjoying the yard that they have put so much time into without having to spend a fortune to make it happen