Friday, April 5, 2013

The Birds

For the last 8 years or so, we've had a bird dilemma.  Each year towards the end of March  and well into May, Night Herons have chosen the 65 foot pine tree in our front yard to roost and to hatch the next generation.  
Adult Male Heron
When we first moved into our new home, I remember explaining to my youngest, who was about 5,  that we weren't the only family living on our property.    We observed together the various birds building nests in our trees, and enjoyed watching them. 

These are a different kind of bird!

The birds I'm describing now are NOT welcome in my trees.  The first year we had the epidemic we had about 4 dozen of those birds in our tree.  They squawked like chickens early in the morning, left big bird poop over everything in sight, and in their clumsiness while feeding their babies, dropped crawdad shells and small fish in my front yard.  Cars were splattered.  Heads pooped on, and so on and so on.  Friends swore they wouldn't visit me any more.  When asked why, they'd tell me to look at their car!

The worst of the infestation came in mid July with 110 degree temperatures.  I kid you not.  The babies would fall out of the tree.  Unable to get back into the tree, they would die.  Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dead birds were hauled off and buried. The stench was overwhelming!

The next year we fought back.  But I must tell you, these birds are protected by law!  Once they nest, it is against the law to bother them.
Heron Eggs
Juvenile Heron

My husband rigged a conduit pole system.  Each pole was 5 feet in length, with connectors.  When they returned each year we would each morning dawn our hard hats and create a 65 foot pole.  I'd hand him each length until we could see it out the top of our tree a block away!  Then we would  shake it until they flew off.  We had about a ninety-five percent reduction of birds in our tree.  There are always stubborn rebels, even in the bird kingdom! The key was to chase them off before they nested.  We knew their biological clock told them they had to lay that egg!  So hassling them each morning was the thing to do!  They'd fly off, where I did not care!

That was our morning ritual for years.  When Barry got sick we were unable to chase the birds away.  They returned.  Not as many as before, but enough to make a mess.  I swore to myself no more.  I would not have those birds in my yard even if it meant cutting that beautiful tree down.

Last year they returned and I went into action. Since loud noises bothered them, my idea was to install a speaker 60 feet up in the tree, record predator noises on my iPod, and blast them!  Nice idea, but it didn't work.  We blew 2 speakers!  I started fooling around with the sound effects on our electronic keyboard.!  I went through most all of them to find something I could use.  I found gunshot sound effects.  I was on to something!  We hooked the keyboard to a guitar amplifier and fired away!  It almost worked except I noticed, about a week later, egg shells on the ground in my front yard. Crap, we were 4 weeks late! Once again wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dead babies were carted off!

This year there will be no fooling around.  We are on it!   I hope the neighbors understand. 


  1. Good luck... Are you going to use the keyboard again this year?

  2. Yes. I've set it up and have been blasting away. I had at least 1 bird in the tree, it left it's tell tale sign.