Tag Archives: cat

THE SHORT LIFE OF A HAPPY YOUNG GREENFINCH

Sparrowhawk attacks – I’m hunting for ways to stop these attacks also. I’ve read all your posts here and I’m feeling a bit deflated, but will not rest until I find the right solution!

I’ll try not to bore you all – Yesterday I opened my patio door for the cat to go out and straight away a greenfinch landed on the ground, fluffed it’s feathers-up and went to sleep. Needless to say I shut the door and kept the cat in.

I watched the bird a while and it was very happy. A young one. It woke up a little bit later and had a swim, a drink and some food and then left. Today it came back. It was happily drinking from the bird bath. A big bird swooped in. Immediately I thought it was a clumsy wood pigeon.

Of course it turned out to be a sparrowhawk and as far as I can tell it got the young bird. The young one was so dopey it would be very unlikely to have got away. Such a waste of a happy little soul.

Like a previous said about the number of birds they used to have – we used to have 50+ tree sparrows every day, feeding, bathing and drinking. Amongst others like the tits and finches. Now we’re lucky to 10 of any variety.

I’m wondering if I just stop encouraging the birds to come to our garden for a while and stop feeding them …

Ashley

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Hi Ashley,   It is a problem when sparrowhawks descend on a garden.  I think there are more around than there used to be.

I don’t know what to say about stopping feeding the garden birds for a while.  It would stop them visiting your garden and so save them from the attacks. But would the sparrowhawk attack them somewhere else?

What with cats, hawks and freezing winters where food is scarce – our garden birds do well to survive

Have you thought of this Hawk Deterrant Balloon.  Here is the link –

http://birdtablenews.com/2011/02/a-brilliant-idea-to-keep-sparrowhawks-away/

 We’d love to know how you get on with this problem.

Crow eating a blackbird

A while ago I  had a comment from a lady.   She told me that in May last year  she saw  a crow pluck a blackbird off the hedge and eat the blackbird.
Before you read this – don’t let it put you off feeding birds – there is a lot of fun to be had feeding birds
I was telling a friend about the blackbird being eaten by a crow and she told me that in the car park where she works two crows were pecking a live dove to bits. She  rushed out, the crows flew away but the dove was so badly mauled it died.
The crows kept on maurauding round the car park looking for the dove they had lost.
Nature is raw and harsh.
Here in her own words is the lady’s story about the crow taking a blackbird. –

We have a breeding pair of blackbirds in our garden (or did have).

The female was wise and had learnt to flap her wings to balance herself whilst she fed on the feeder that she was not meant to fit on to.

Unfortunately, I have just witnessed a crow, pluck her out of the hedge row, and despite my efforts to scare it to drop her, the crow flew off and promptly devoured her. So yes crows do kill birds…Not so keen on crows at the moment

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No neither am I.
The crow breeds between April and June. I wonder if the crow was finding food for it’s young, or if the crow population is getting bigger.
It is sad that a blackbird dies and a crow survives.  It may be that crows that will multipy and the blackbirds reduce in number.
Here is some information

  • Crows are completely black.
  • They nest in trees and are solitary birds, unlike rooks who nest in colonies. 
  • Crows have  a black beak. Rooks are black with a pale beak. 
  • As well as eating smaller birds crows eat seeds, fruit, insects, eggs, kitchen scraps, small mammals, amphibians, snails – I could go on.

  I  myself was horrified when ages ago I watched a crow eating a blackbird.

I couldn’t describe how bad it was to watch. I did not know if it had found a dead blackbird or if it had caught a live blackbird. I think now it must have caught the blackbird when it was alive.
Crows eating birds must happen a lot. I have seen it happen, a friend has seen it happen and the lady who sent this comment has seen it happen.
Surely it must happen unseen all the time in among the hedge rows and trees.
With a predator like a crow to contend with birds certainly don’t need cats prowling about  after them .
Cats are domesticated and get fed by their owners.  Yet, cats can kill all the time, not just when they are hungry.   I have seen cats killing birds  a number of times – once when we had a stray cat move into our house

I have also had trouble with rooks and crows at the birdtable in my garden

Maybe cats and crows are two of the reasons for the decline in some birds – sparrowhawks may be another.

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A stray cat that killed birds

About 3 years ago we had a thin, bedraggled, stray cat wandered into our lives.

It came from nowhere and started to come to the house. It would sit on the window ledge outside our living room window and tap on the window with its paw.

We told it it did not live here and shooed it away. But every time we opened the front door it ran inside and sat on the living room chair. We threw it out. It came back. We listened to the cat tapping and the rain tapping on the window at the same time. The cat won the battle and joined the household. We have never found out where it came from. We called it Tabby. Then the trouble started.

It killed and ate birds. Lots of them. Killing birds seemed to be its one aim in life. I would watch it as it climbed inside a high hedge, crept along a branch and tried to kill an unsuspecting bird. It was a born hunter. I did try to stop it. I put two bells on its neck. I tried to keep it inside all the time, but it found open windows and also sneaked outside whenever anyone opened a door. I put up with a lot. I tried to make excuses for this cat.

Then one day I found two sets of soft, red, fragile robin feathers close together. So light and innocent. These soft feathers gently started to flutter in the breeze. This was solid proof that two robins had been killed by this cat. This was two lives too many. If the robins died, should the cat die? My patience turned to anger.

I realised that cats will always kill birds. This was just a food factory for this cat. I did not kill it. I rang the RSPCA. I left it at a collection point to be picked up by the RSPCA and have not seen it since. It was the only decision I could make. We have been free of cats since then and it has been lovely.
It is because of this experience I know that cats do a lot of harm to bird life. Too much harm.
 I found out the other week that we have a feral cat round about.  Hope it’s not killing a lot of birds.