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Note to the United Kingdom: Please come get your starlings. We do not want them anymore.


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16 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

Please come and get your grey squirrels in return.  They out-compete the British red squirrels.

Deal!  I wonder if they can be shipped DHL...

That's what my sister's husband fights at his bird feeder!  He has bought so many anti-squirrel contraptions over the years!  The last one seems to have worked: when a bird perches, it can eat the birdseed through a hole, but the perch is spring-loaded so that a squirrel, which is heavier, grabs on, it pulls down the outer sheath and closes to openings to the seeds.  Genius!

Edited by RegGuheert
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4 minutes ago, RegGuheert said:

Deal!  I wonder if they can be shipped DHL...

That's what my sister's husband fights at his bird feeder!  He has bought so many anti-squirrel contraptions over the years!  The last one seems to have worked: when a bird perches, it can eat the birdseed through a hole, but the perch is spring-load so that a squirrel, which is heavier, grabs on, it pulls down the outer sheath and closes to openings to the seeds.  Genius!

Our squirrels just sit on top of contraptions like that and eat while dangling upside down. They learn to avoid the spring loaded perch very quickly.

I have luck with one of those barrel type additions placed on the pole under the feeder hooks. Occasionally a squirrel gets stuck inside but that hasn’t happened for awhile. Of course the pole still has to be far enough away from any plant or structure so it can’t just jump onto the feeders. Dedicated squirrels aren’t dissuaded by much, unfortunately.

Starlings built a nest inside a neighbors house some years ago. They created a large hole in the siding and we would watch them fly in and out before and after terrorizing the neighborhood. The nest was there for several years before they replaced the siding. I always imagined they must have sounded very loud from inside the house.

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Starlings don’t like the feeders that have a dome. We also noticed a significant diminution since taking up the lawn. An internet search turned up this paper that seems to confirm that they don’t like ungrazed fields: https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr251/psw_gtr251_073.pdf

All of the starlings in the US are descended from just around 100 brought to NYC and released in Central Park by Shakespeare enthusiasts (they wanted all the birds mentioned in his works). So think of this next time you want to introduce non-native species into your garden. This counts for plants too! They escape and multiply and outcompete native species, just like the starlings!

Edited by bibiche
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28 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Our squirrels just sit on top of contraptions like that and eat while dangling upside down. They learn to avoid the spring loaded perch very quickly.

I have luck with one of those barrel type additions placed on the pole under the feeder hooks. Occasionally a squirrel gets stuck inside but that hasn’t happened for awhile. Of course the pole still has to be far enough away from any plant or structure so it can’t just jump onto the feeders. Dedicated squirrels aren’t dissuaded by much, unfortunately.

Starlings built a nest inside a neighbors house some years ago. They created a large hole in the siding and we would watch them fly in and out before and after terrorizing the neighborhood. The nest was there for several years before they replaced the siding. I always imagined they must have sounded very loud from inside the house.

 

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Cats!

Bb guns where circumstances permit. Kids with nerf guns can be a non- permanent substitute.

We have had success foiling squirrels with the spring loaded feeders and the spicy hot feed. They go away for a while, returning later, like the wretched moles. 

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It's interesting -  I rarely see starlings at bird feeders here. They are around in the  fields, just not on feeders. This year when I did the bird count for the RSPB was the first time that there were starlings in my garden to be included.  I wonder what the difference is there.

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3 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Please come and get your grey squirrels in return.  They out-compete the British red squirrels.

There is an entertaining episode of doc Martin that talks about this! I just thought the guy was making it up!

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14 minutes ago, saraha said:

There is an entertaining episode of doc Martin that talks about this! I just thought the guy was making it up!

Red squirrels are really cute and also  endangered. Think Squirrel Nutkin. Because they are smaller they can't forage when it's too cold. The grey squirrels get to the newly-fallen seeds first. The greys also infect the reds with squirrelpox.

https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/

 

Edited by Laura Corin
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Okay, here's the trade. We'll take our squirrels back from Europe and our raccoons back from Japan, and in exchange Eurasia will take back the rabbits from Australia and the starlings from the Americas, but they'll leave the feral horses because we actually like those.

Now, who's taking custody of the pigeons?

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10 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Okay, here's the trade. We'll take our squirrels back from Europe and our raccoons back from Japan, and in exchange Eurasia will take back the rabbits from Australia and the starlings from the Americas, but they'll leave the feral horses because we actually like those.

Now, who's taking custody of the pigeons?

Are we doing aquatic invaders as a separate trade? Clearly the flora trade should be separate, more complicated. 

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10 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Are we doing aquatic invaders as a separate trade? Clearly the flora trade should be separate, more complicated. 

 

Fish are separate, and listen - nobody's touching the cane toads. You'd have to pay money to do that swap.

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1 minute ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Fish are separate, and listen - nobody's touching the cane toads. You'd have to pay money to do that swap.

Has anyone introduced anything particularly noxious to South America? They'd need to come pick up the toads :). 

Cane toads actually are really great for use in education, because they are so big and easy to handle. Unfortunately the supply far outstrips the demand. The same is true with tegu (who also need to be returned to South America). They are amazing lizards, and are very trainable, like scaly dogs. But again, the number of people who have a need for a several foot long lizard that can play fetch and learn tricks is small compared to the number that now live in Florida. 

Thailand might be willing to take their pythons back. The species is actually at risk in their native range. It might be hard to get them packaged for shipping, though. 

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56 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

While you’re at it would you mind rounding up the foxes and rabbits here in Australia?  It seemed like a great idea at the time but we’ve changed our mind. 

The Romans still haven't rounded up the rabbits they introduced to the UK. Or was it the Normans? I've heard both.

Edited by Laura Corin
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3 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

The Romans still haven't rounded up the rabbits they introduced to the UK. Or was it the Normans? I've heard both.

Not sure if we want the Romans or Normans to come start rounding things up 😂. That sounds dangerous!

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17 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

 

Thailand might be willing to take their pythons back. The species is actually at risk in their native range. It might be hard to get them packaged for shipping, though. 

I wouldn't think that would be too hard. You'd just get into a ZIP and email, yeah? 

(...I'll see myself out, lol)

Edited by Moonhawk
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This winter, I finally managed to have a truly squirrel proof feeder. Normal tube feeder is suspended from a high branch via a 10 ft string, hangs 6 ft above the ground (too high to jump up) and too far away horizontally from the tree trunk to jump off the trunk. No squirrel has tried to slither down the string. Problem solved.

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25 minutes ago, regentrude said:

This winter, I finally managed to have a truly squirrel proof feeder. Normal tube feeder is suspended from a high branch via a 10 ft string, hangs 6 ft above the ground (too high to jump up) and too far away horizontally from the tree trunk to jump off the trunk. No squirrel has tried to slither down the string. Problem solved.

These work.  I have them on hooks on my deck, but the squirrel has to put weight on it to reach the seed ports.  Irony is - I bought them to keep the stellers Jay's out (the little pigs. they make huge messes.)

Edited by gardenmom5
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24 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

I really want someone to take back their Japanese/Asian beetles.  Those are my nemesis as they decimate all my favorite plants.

Do you have chickens?  MomsintheGarden invented a device which catches the Japanese beetles and feeds them to the chickens.  Saves chicken feed and no more nasty bags of beetles to empty!

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21 minutes ago, RegGuheert said:

Do you have chickens?  MomsintheGarden invented a device which catches the Japanese beetles and feeds them to the chickens.  Saves chicken feed and no more nasty bags of beetles to empty!

No chickens but her device does sound neat.

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I'm waging a war with our - native - rooks. They fly full speed at the feeders trying to knock them out of the tree, cause them to unscrew, or simply break apart. The current arrangement has lasted two weeks, but the rooks are canny, so I'm not declaring victory 

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53 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Aren't rooks a type of corvid? Nobody ever wins a war against corvids. Maybe you could find some compromise position?

Yes, they are corvids.  They seem to be in league with the jackdaws too.  The compromise is that I have four bird feeders hanging from the apple trees, so if they knock one down, there's still food for the little birds.  And the ground-feeding birds get a treat from the rooks' work for a bit until I regroup.

ETA - I'm not sure the rooks actually eat that much of what they knock down.  It's the challenge

Edited by Laura Corin
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7 minutes ago, RegGuheert said:

Seriously, what language are you ladies speaking??

You don't speak corvid?  Rooks, crows, jays, magpies, jackdaws and the ravens at the Tower of London

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jan/14/tower-of-london-raven-missing-feared-dead

Edited by Laura Corin
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23 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

You don't speak corvid?  Rooks, crows, jays, magpies, jackdaws and the ravens at the Tower of London

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jan/14/tower-of-london-raven-missing-feared-dead

I suppose you're gonna bring all of those over here to join their friends, the starlings, are you?

Before you do, please tell me: what's wrong with them?

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Just now, RegGuheert said:

I suppose you're gonna bring all of those over here to join their friends, the starlings, are you?

Before you do, please tell me: what's wrong with them?

They are much too bright for anyone else's good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya1FTqKs15k

https://phys.org/news/2009-05-necessity-mother-clever-birds-wvideos.html

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6 hours ago, RegGuheert said:

I suppose you're gonna bring all of those over here to join their friends, the starlings, are you?

Before you do, please tell me: what's wrong with them?

Crows - and possibly other corvids, I don't know - can even learn to mimic human words, like parrots.

They can also learn to recognize human faces. Bother a crow once, and you'll never be safe again - they'll tell all their friends, and from then on, wherever you go you'll be mobbed. (On the flip side, if they like you they'll bring you shinies.)

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On 2/19/2021 at 11:09 AM, Tanaqui said:

Crows - and possibly other corvids, I don't know - can even learn to mimic human words, like parrots.

They can also learn to recognize human faces. Bother a crow once, and you'll never be safe again - they'll tell all their friends, and from then on, wherever you go you'll be mobbed. (On the flip side, if they like you they'll bring you shinies.)

Yup, crows have language and will pass down description of someone who pisses them off for GENERATIONS.  It's uncanny.  

I'm trying to convince my husband to let me start a crow army, but he says it's a terrible idea.  

Crows can easily learn to recognize differences in denominations of dollar bills and to prefer $10 over $5 and $5 over $1.  

I have a friend who rehabbed a baby crow.  After it was better and grew up, it lived nearby, and would come to visit her.  It also liked to fly over to picnickers, land next to their food, say, "Hello," in perfect English, and then grab food when they were startled.  He thought the whole thing was hilarious.  

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3 hours ago, Terabith said:

Yup, crows have language and will pass down description of someone who pisses them off for GENERATIONS.  It's uncanny.  

I'm trying to convince my husband to let me start a crow army, but he says it's a terrible idea.  

Crows can easily learn to recognize differences in denominations of dollar bills and to prefer $10 over $5 and $5 over $1.  

I have a friend who rehabbed a baby crow.  After it was better and grew up, it lived nearby, and would come to visit her.  It also liked to fly over to picnickers, land next to their food, say, "Hello," in perfect English, and then grab food when they were startled.  He thought the whole thing was hilarious.  

 

That's a funny story!

Although, as we're coming up into baby bird season again, I'll note as I do every year that you should not pick up a baby bird that you think has been "abandoned" unless it is in immediate danger. Chances are that it's just fine, and Mom is waiting nearby. If you do pick it up, you should simply move it to the nearest safe spot, like under a bush - birds can't "smell you" on their babies, and don't care anyway. You should only take more serious measures if you've observed the baby bird for quite a while and are *certain* that it's not doing well - and then consult an expert. Many young birds, especially crows, are harmed because they're removed from their parents by well-meaning do-gooders who have no idea how to care for them, and who especially don't know how to rehab the bird properly so it can rejoin its native community in the wild.

I'm assuming your friend did know what she was doing, but so many people have more enthusiasm than knowledge.

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9 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

That's a funny story!

Although, as we're coming up into baby bird season again, I'll note as I do every year that you should not pick up a baby bird that you think has been "abandoned" unless it is in immediate danger. Chances are that it's just fine, and Mom is waiting nearby. If you do pick it up, you should simply move it to the nearest safe spot, like under a bush - birds can't "smell you" on their babies, and don't care anyway. You should only take more serious measures if you've observed the baby bird for quite a while and are *certain* that it's not doing well - and then consult an expert. Many young birds, especially crows, are harmed because they're removed from their parents by well-meaning do-gooders who have no idea how to care for them, and who especially don't know how to rehab the bird properly so it can rejoin its native community in the wild.

I'm assuming your friend did know what she was doing, but so many people have more enthusiasm than knowledge.

Yeah, my friend was a professional bird rehabber.  I think the crow was brought to her as a baby, and it's possible that could have been avoided, but maybe not.  It was many years ago.  But yes, in general it's best to leave baby birds alone unless they're in immediate danger.  Often they are fledglings who are learning to fly and mom or dad is quite near.  

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:44 AM, RegGuheert said:

I suppose you're gonna bring all of those over here to join their friends, the starlings, are you?

Before you do, please tell me: what's wrong with them?

I once watched an Australian magpie happily play with about a 2-3 yr old child. The bird would trill at the child, get the child's attention, and the child would move towards them, the bird would hop back, and repeat. Moving the child AWAY from the parking lot. I knew Corvids were smart-I didn't know they were capable of providing child care! They are really amazing birds but, yes, super smart. 

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On 2/19/2021 at 5:03 AM, RegGuheert said:

Whoa!!  Archimedes' got nuthin' on that first bird.

Please keep them over there!!

We already have them here.  Blue jays, ravens, crows, magpies are pretty common in US (at least my area of US).

Our big bird feeder pest is the bears.   Not so much this time of year but in the spring we'll have to switch back to just scattering seed on an old stone fireplace.  

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3 hours ago, Dmmetler said:

I once watched an Australian magpie happily play with about a 2-3 yr old child. The bird would trill at the child, get the child's attention, and the child would move towards them, the bird would hop back, and repeat. Moving the child AWAY from the parking lot. I knew Corvids were smart-I didn't know they were capable of providing child care! They are really amazing birds but, yes, super smart. 

I've seen the video of the crow with a pet kitten who would carefully keep the kitten away from the street, but I haven't heard of a corvid using that same diligence to lure a child away from a parking lot before!

And like you, I do believe that magpie knew exactly what it was doing. Cars = dangerous. If you can use them to crack open nuts (and I bet magpies do that just like crows and ravens do) then babies shouldn't be there.

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