Please read this link which is from an article in early April, but it’s still a difficult time for garden birds
Here is a heartfelt plea for advice from a reader - Can we help her?
hi there, i came across your website 2 months ago and i like it. I have read several articles you posted on your website including many of the ones about cats killing garden birds.
I was particularly interested in the one about the stray cat you had which sadly killed those two robins. I would like to share with you a frustrating and never ending problem in the hope that you might have some ideas on what i could do. I have been having ongoing problems with a cat for years, it is just the one cat which is a killing machine,always on the lookout to stalk and hunt wildlife. All it does is stalk wildlife. Ive never seen a cat as bad as this one.
Its owners are not responsible and their garden is tiny, i dont even think it is neutered as i have seen it spraying, and it isnt collared either. and it is always coming over to my g arden and other neighbours. It is a stressfull problem as it is just this one cat and despite chasing it out of the garden for years it still comes back. It has treat my garden like its personal little hunting ground for years but i only just got into wildlife 2 years ago so it has been hanging around in my garden for years previously.
Last spring it ambushed pigeons which were eating the fallen seed from a feeder. Hiding in shrubs and charging out to get unassuming birds. It also ambushed other birds i believe, likely ground feeding ones. I got so fed up last year that i took down the feeder for some days, and it affected the birds, they wondered where their feeder had gone to, i was so fed up and sad for the birds i think i cried.
I ended up putting the feeder back up but had to put it really close to the house. I like to treat wildlife equally and i dont hold the view like many others do that certain birds are vermin. I like the pigeons too but they are always the most vulnerable, aswell as the blackbirds and others. This cat is a nightmare and will always hang around when i am not around. I discovered it hanging around right by my back door last week, stalking birds which feed from the feeder. I could not believe it. When i opened my window it ran off. As i assumed it would stay away. It usually sits in a spot at the bottom of the garden where it can see all the feeders, and it uses this as its stalking path. I have approached the owners in the past and they were very ignorant, they didnt want to know and i had been polite to them. They were actually abusive when i finally went round to confront them in person. I had sent a polite letters before which they ignored. That was when their cats were defecating on my front lawn and it was causing a health hazard. Now i rarely get any cat feces on my front lawn, but the problem with the one cat remains.
Their other cats are not a problem, they do spray their urine which smells awful in milder weather, but its the killing of wildlife that holds my concern. Its only this one cat, and if i chase it out of my garden it will move on to the next, which is what happened last week, i observed it chasing birds and stalking the neighbours table. I feel really frustrated with the problem us compassionate people face. Its a really sad situation over here where we live as those who dont own cats have no rights, and even the RSPB and other places pander to cat lovers.
I had thought of buying deterrents but i cant use a sonic deterrent because it affects other animals, smaller animals. and the water sprayer is very expensive and im worried this cat is too sly and clever. Though it has got very good reviews Do you have any advice or suggestions? Im so frustrated , because this cat will be hanging around early morning at 4am onwards as we all know that spring is prime hunting season for cats. And i have been lucky to get more ground feeding birds lately, more than ever, such as dunnocks, blackbirds and even a song thrush! All of which are so vulnerable. I have been thinking hard about what i can do to protect them, and i plan to plant prickly shrubs, but i feel sad that i have to go to all this because of one cat. I fear that whatever i do it will find a way around it. Its a nightmare, id actually happily have the other cat in my garden instead,as that one isnt much interested in wildlife please reply,thanks
Could you put barbed wire on the boundary fence. I know someone who did that and it stopped the cat and saved the birds.
In Australia cats are not allowed out. Wish it was the same here. Cats get fed at home, which means they are always strong and healthy so find it easy to catch birds. Our garden birds have to search for food and never have a safe environment to go to. It is so one sided in the cats favour. I feel for you.
Does anyone else have any ideas?
Can I ask where you live?
Fancy that! I wonder how often it happens. I wonder if this happens all year round. We do think of these small sparrows as needing our protection, but we don’t know half of what goes on in bird world do we? Thank you very much for getting in touch
ANSWER FROM SANDY
Could be a reed bunting? I have quite a few in my garden, in fact more reed buntings than sparrows these days
Glad readers are helping each other out
A BLUE TIT SPENDS 85% OF EVERY DAY IN WINTER LOOKING FOR FOOD
So when you see a Blue Tit flitting about remember that fact and keep (or start) putting bird food out.
Imagine if we had to spend 85% of every winter’s day looking for food. We can’t imagine it can we?
If food is available on a bird table, a hanging feeder or on the ground the birds will have more energy to see them through the freezing night. This applies to many birds not just Blue Tits.
Lack of food can made a bird less alert and so more likely to be caught by predators, or if it does not get enough fat to last through the night it may die
Sometimes winter weather looks beautiful, but it hides the harshness of winter
I have some blackbirds and thrushes feeding together in such a flurry. As soon as I put the food out they skim past me and tuck into the bird food – ignoring me in the process. They are united in this urgency. They know with certainty that in two minutes the rooks will be descending.
It’s a case of try and outwit the rooks – placing the bird food in places where they can’t reach.
I’m getting a close up view of these large rooks and they are so large and just have an arrogant look about them. I suppose they know they rule the roost so to speak
I outwit them in the end.
Could there be a sparrowhawk in the area? Have you seen one?
It’s strange that you have so many different types of birds missing from your garden.
Strangely, I had a woodpecker in my garden today. We have an small, old tree and it was merrilly ‘tapping’ / ‘drilling’ away at it. So it is strange that your woodpecker has gone and that the others have disappeared.
Has there been any building work nearby? I ask this because my garden was so quiet one day and all the birds had disappeared. It turned out that there was some work being done just outside the garden. The work only went on for one day so the garden birds were soon back.
Let me know if you see a sparrowhawk in the area or if there is any building work going on
I’ll put your question on Bird Table News in case anyone can think of another reason
Stan sent this. I have replied to him but wonder what advice other people would give him. I also asked him which country he lived in