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Bird Boxes

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The bird box has always been something I’ve queried. I don’t know why. I just feel/ felt that they would always be better off making their own. Is that fair to say….? Either or, I wanted two in the garden just for the craic of it. You know, to see would they come.

These two bird boxes were made some weeks ago from an old timber wine box and given a lick of whatever colour was nearest/ lying around paint.

Fairly simple to make, they are also another variation of if I got these as a gift would I be impressed ? You better believe it. I’ve seen sites selling these for upwards of €30 each.

My Total Costs. €0.00

If you fancy having a go making them yourself… bear in mind, the bird really doesn’t care if you have not been meticulous in your efforts and from your aesthetic perspective, depending on your skills, a lick of paint will hide everything a lot.

The only things I really need to be careful of is that the box itself isn’t south facing. Logic applies here so you don’t cook the birds. Other than that its keep it about 2-3 metres off the ground and although there are site suggestions of when you should put them up…. I’m not going to pay any attention to that. If the winter guys wanna nest in them, it’s there for the taking. If not they’ll be there for the summer fella’s.

The only note I will make is not to tighten the screws too much so you can flip them over and tip out the previous years unwanted nest.

I could give instructions on how these were made, but the photos say it all pretty much.

More birds to help me eat my raspberries next year 😀

note: Highly recommendthe birdwatch Ireland fact sheet

For The Birds…

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This has been a really unusual week from a bird point of view first I like to start with this [part of a qoute] from Neighbours.ie. I had written something myself on birds in our gardens a few days ago but I had neglected to mention the wider bird populus

It is reported that up to 50 swans have died in the canal with there heads submerged in water near the Portobello Bridge. It is likely many small birds will share the same faith due to starvation.If enough people could make a contribution of throwing out a little bread making sure its on an elevated height away from preying cats as this would save alot of lives……

In what now seems like a funny twist of fate [thanks to Suzy Byrne] the Department of Environment have given some Irish birds a stay of execution. Funny to see Bird Watch Ireland being referenced via comment in this one…. Yes folks feed your birds…. and leave some birds alone – so we can shoot the ones we want…. fair and square of course…. 🙄

The temporary closure is to protect wild ducks, geese and waders, including the woodcock, until Friday the 15th of January. It does not affect shooting for pheasant, red-legged partridge or pigeons

It is a similar [ish] but unusual story that Suzy also reported with regards to the culling of the grey squirrel over at her weblog Mamanpoulet. [Hence my double edged title ‘for the birds’] And here’s where it gets really odd….

Prizes are being awarded to gun clubs who shoot most of the alien grey squirrel according to a report in Wednesday’s Irish Times.

The funny thing is not the culling of the greys…. [I said NOT ] but the fact that the forestry department are paying the bursary. So if this was a case of protecting trees then it is very much a case of discrimination. Dont mind the trees being damaged but as long as its not those greys….? On the other hand The Greens want to close down the hunt clubs….In summary…. its ok to kill an animal as long as you are not on a horse…. and if you’re not we’ll throw you a few bob.

Anyhow back to the birds…. I did [and do] put out the bird seed but it froze over and with that the water did too. That includes the water for my hens….  So if you did put out water in the a.m. you might wanna check it twice or so per day and once again see this post for more details on food for the birds.

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Some Irish Birds…

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The weather outside is absolutely freezing… it has been for some time now and today the snow fell in Ballyboughal heavy enough to concern me. With that in mind I had reckoned I should do a post on some things frost[y] related.

In what I can only describe as a sincerely very welcome press release [and I get a lot…] …it’s especially for you guys and it’s all about birds. Got an apartment, balcony, a billion acres of garden or not then read on.

As you can gather the weather is causing havoc for a lot of of our wild birds such as the sparrow, the thrush and the Goldfinch and BirdWatch Ireland [I had mentioned the Bird Watch boys previously] are on a mission to encourage people to put out food for the birds that visit their gardens. According to Oran O Sullivan [this is the press realease bit…. 😉 ]

Cooked household scraps as well as peanuts and mixed seed all provide a vital source of energy for garden birds, particularly important as daylight hours are short and frozen ground affects garden birds ability to hunt for prey items. Remember to keep feeding regularly through the winter months, putting out food in early morning. It is also important to provide fresh water as many normal water sources are frozen over.

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I myself  like to buy a big bag of feed [both types] nuts and seed. The seed is so the little ‘uns get something [the bigger birds cant get their beaks through the gauze].

When I was growing up we always left out some stale bread and water milk for them… but then I have two dogs and four hens…. not really enough waste to around I guess 😉

Anyhow… it’s good fun and depending on what you put outside for them… it’s also free.

I had done this post previously on birds in my garden.

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Snails…

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Some may call the mollusc one of the greatest pests known to mankind the plant world. I’ll give them one thing…. they’re not the prettiest looking fellas on the planet.

Famed for eating anything thats green leafed, the damage they cause can often be confused with that of bird damage. The difference is birds will eat through the veins of the leaf where the snails mouth eating parts will not allow them eat anything greater than just the leaf matter. ie the damage they cause is considered interveinal only.

For controlling snails once must start at the very start and that is with good garden hygiene; ie. a good cleaning, pruning and removal of debris regularly from around plants. There is also the use of ‘slug pellets which burns the belly of the mollusc when they move across it. Personally I like to pick them up and throw them into the hens.

What I find facinating is the varied and so many methods of controlling snails I have heard on my travels…. from copper wire placed in a loop around the base of the plant to a cup of beer placed near, which I personally find an awful waste 😉

How do you do it….?

A Fruit Tree Problem Shared is a Problem…

I have about 20 apple trees in my garden some in groups. Some seperate. One of them was looking particularly bad. I took a closer look….

There are two things that I spot immediately….

fruit-trees-pest and disease

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The scaring [left] can often be confused with the marks of apple sawfly…

….but these markings are actually a result of irregular water supply.

The fruit is quite small/ smaller than the fruits on other trees of same variety and some are out of shape.

The sudden availability of water causes the skins to crack.

This coincides with the time they where planted, the fact that they were containerised before and also that no mulching of any format was used.

The second is the wasps….

fruit-trees-pests ireland wasps

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the wasps…. [vespula spp.] are attracted to the fruits primarly damaged by birds… talk about lazy 😉

The suggested control by some is to find the wasps nest and destroy it.

I just can’t do that. Or you can cover the trusses with nylon/ muslin bags over the fruit before damage begins [?!] As long as its not in the house. There is nothing wrong with the tree. It’s simply the fruit that is gone from it for this year. What I will do it wait until autumn/ winterwhen all the fruit and leaves and wasps are gone and move the tree to a better spot.

A fruit tree problem shared is a problem solved….;) for next year!

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