Lilies forum: Bird Damage/Lilies--2014

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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jul 24, 2014 5:58 AM CST
Birds are getting bothersome early this year. I'm seeing increasing amounts of pecking and ripping of buds. It seems to be mostly the female 'red wing' blackbirds but when others birds see that, they follow suit and join in. While it hasn't been a threat to any of my cross pollination work now, it could mean big problems this Fall. Guess I better get stocked up with the old 'nylons and pantyhose' for seed pod protection.
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Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jul 24, 2014 1:48 PM CST
I usually have that problem to a degree but this year has been better than in the past.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?

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BUGGYCRAZY
Jul 25, 2014 10:27 PM CST
A good cat solves many problems.
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Jul 26, 2014 1:49 AM CST
I've been thinking a cat to reduce the bunny problem, but today I saw a fire-tail finch at my new place - I haven't seen one since I was a kid. They hop around low to the ground and through scrub. Ideal cat targets and definitely not bud-peckers!

What are they after, I wonder? Nectar? A bug that happens to be on the bud? It is amazing how creatures learn eating habits from one another in the garden. I guess it's a sort of "I'll have what she's having" approach to alfresco dining! I hope the birds that have grown a fancy for your blooms find something tastier this autumn, Lorn.

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BUGGYCRAZY
Jul 26, 2014 8:37 AM CST
If it is safe at night to have the cat outside it could hunt then. That is what some friends do since they have lots of birds.
But you have to look for a cat or kitten that already knows how, they are supposed to learn it from their mother, but I have had to teach kittens. If they learn too late they are never good at it.

My best killer cat was never too interested in birds, and I taught her to bring me everything so I could rescue the occasional hummingbird (they are easy to rescue, they are either dead or have fainted)
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jul 26, 2014 8:38 AM CST
Della these birds are seed eaters and they're very pesty--almost desperate-like. I can chase them out of one end but they just fly down to the other end. They're looking for seeds, ripping open buds and tearing petals off those already blooming. They're real bad this morning. Never had a problem like this so early--don't quite know how to deal with it.

You're right about the animal world 'learning from each other'. They also care about each others welfare a times. The other day I had to shoot a bothersome cottontail rabbit and all different kinds of birds instantly came from out of nowhere and landed around him as if to try and help. In another instance earlier this year, two male robins were in a death match fight on the ground until they were both literally flat on their backs exhausted. In that situation many other kinds of birds tried unsuccessfully to break it up. Birds that you would never expect to become involved like Baltimore Orioles or even Wrens--but they were all there but a hummingbird; In such instances they all become instant allies. EDIT: PICTURES ADDED
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[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Jul 26, 2014 10:13 AM (+)]
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Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Jul 26, 2014 9:50 PM CST
No wonder they're a worry. I'd hate to have desperate seed-eaters after my pods, even before the flower opens! Has something happened to their normal food source this time of year to make them so desperate? Would putting seed out in a bird feeder distract them from the lilies or just make it worse?

Animal behaviour is fascinating. I didn't realise a cat's hunting habits could be influenced, either. Buggy, how did you train your best hunter?

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BUGGYCRAZY
Jul 28, 2014 8:04 PM CST
Nothing but encouraging her natural instincts. She soon learn what "mouse" meant and to look where I was pointing. That worked for all non hopping rodents except moles, none of my cats would do moles. I had to teach her "rabbit" when those got bad. She had to let me pick her up and then look where I was pointing for those. And she was hyperactive, she fell countless times doing stupid stuff, and hurting herself doing other stupid stuff (and fighting) until we got the farm and she had plenty of critters to keep her occupied. I inherited another hyperactive one I have now but she doesn't know what to do even if she gets lucky and catches something.
But I have had other good hunters and actually hunting with them is good training. One I got as a kitten and he was terrified of mice at first. I had a horse and a bad mouse infestation in the feed. I taught him by swimming a mouse until it was too tired to do much and then giving it to him, he soon got the idea and we did many barn cleanings together. I have used the exhausted mouse method to train others, but now I am too old and tired and my problem here is squirrels, and my inherited cat may never learn that charging is not the way to go about it but at least she keeps them at bay unless the weather is bad. Everything is screened or mulched; squirrels are much worse in town than in the country or woods.

It may be a good idea to feed the birds, face it - you are out numbered!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Jul 28, 2014 9:36 PM CST
Yeah, maybe I should go out and get a 50# bag of seed and dump it in a old wheelbarrow. I had a friend in Ohio who had a similar problem with not only birds, but coons after his sweet corn also. He got a cd of animal sounds at the zoo in Columbus and re-recorded a lions roar, elephant roar, baboons and so on from the cd. He then rigged a player up to a motion sensing device in the garden and it would play back the roars at high volume. It worked. His first attempt at this approach was a radio that would come on with people talking. He said that worked for a while, but the critters became accustomed to it. But the last time we talked, he said the lions roar is still working.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Jul 28, 2014 9:49 PM (+)]
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BUGGYCRAZY
Aug 1, 2014 7:34 PM CST
Birds do not seem to be bothered by noise, unless it is starlings and they can tell the dif between a real shotgun and recorded. But maybe those flashy pinwheels and tapes may work, at least long enough for the rest of the season!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Aug 1, 2014 7:46 PM CST
As young children, I'll bet we all experienced astonishment when a grown up clapped his(or her) hands when birds were noisily perched in the trees during migration time. All goes silent, for about 5 seconds, before the din resumes. I've had the pleasure of performing this "trick" with my nieces: one was in awe, the other (the smart one), just seemed to be thinking "what's going on?"
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Aug 1, 2014 8:51 PM CST
Well, they've nipped off or half eaten several of my pods leaving only a blank pedicel and pollen tag. They even seem to enjoy tearing off the foil caps just to see of they can find seed. There are hundreds of birds at a time now in the area and the seem to go from one house or place to another and raid gardens. The neighbor lady down the road said all her zinnias are picked clean. I know they picked every petal out of all my neighbors dahlias just across the road from me. We're all scratchin' our heads in puzzlement. Grumbling

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BUGGYCRAZY
Aug 3, 2014 10:59 PM CST
Are they starlings?
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Aug 4, 2014 5:15 AM CST
Starlings and female Red Winged Blackbirds. Also, there is another group that comes here about 15 or 20 at a time that resemble female Cedar Waxwings, but we don't know what they are called--it's new to the area and none of us know what it is. And, even though they are less in numbers, they are the most destructive and viscous. They work very fast, pulling and flipping petals in all directions, unlike Starlings that at least take the time to swallow. These have definite feeding times about 8AM and 4PM. These are the ones that hit the Zinnias and Dahlias as well as the lilies; they just pull and flip petals like they're in a panic.


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BUGGYCRAZY
Aug 8, 2014 11:26 PM CST
I had lots of all of those and never a problem with lilies! The cedar waxwings always came and cleaned up the holly berries and then went their separate ways to have families, some families were around but never a pest. Starlings are always a pest and the blackbirds just sing too loud (and too early for some). Maybe there is some problem with the normal food supply and they are starving. I only had major problems with the thrushes once when an unusually mild winter was followed by another round of winter and they demolished my ornamental corn seedlings. We ended up putting cracked corn out and when the weather got back to normal they disappeared into the woods like usual. And the quail would demolish my sunflower seedlings if I didn't cover them with netting when they first germinated. Starlings are always a problem. Lead poisoning is the only thing that works on them.
This is very troubling, remember Alfred Hitchcock's "the birds"? If the birds ever band together we are all in trouble.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Aug 9, 2014 5:28 AM CST
They're gone! Vanished. It's like they disappeared off the face of the earth--just like that. Don't know where they came from or where they went, but my neighbor and I have not seen them anywhere in our daily travels for the last 5 days. Now all the ground feeders can pick around in peace again. I lost some pods but most of my high priority pods are OK and I'll still have plenty of seeds to keep me busy--if they don't come back.
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Aug 9, 2014 5:19 PM CST
Thank goodness for that!

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