Feed the birds by Pat Whalley


Feed the birds, twopence a bag………that is one of the songs from the Mary Poppins film.  Obviously it was written many years ago as our bird seed costs us $20.00 a bag and they go through two bags a month.

We love watching our visiting birds and have a hanging feeder, outside the kitchen window, also a ground feeder out in the yard.  The ground area is good for the quail while the perching birds enjoy the hanging feeder.  Their antics while getting seeds is very amusing and many times we have nine or ten little birds balanced on the feeder.

I would appreciate it if they would not manage to poop on my windows, but intake is always followed by output, so it is to be expected.

One thing I have noticed is that while the birds will quarrel within their own groups, the different species to not seem to bother with one another and all eat together peacefully.  Maybe human beings could learn something from the birds!!!

Several years ago we were thrilled to have a pair of collared doves arrive, they are really beautiful and we were thrilled when they raised a chick, now we had three.  The following year they brought as couple of pals along, five doves, they were lovely.

Now, it is five years since the appearance of our first pair and we have a yard full of doves, at least twenty of them, hard to count as they keep moving about.  Dave’s exclamations have changed from “oh look at the beautiful pair of doves”, to “those damn pigeons are stealing all the seed”.

We still enjoy the doves but they leave nothing for the quail who visit us a couple of times each day.  The doves stay all day and if we refresh the seed for the quail, the doves pinch it before the quail arrive.  This leaves the quail scratching for seeds which have already gone.

The past few days the doves have discovered that we have food in the hanging feeder and we often have two of them balancing precariously on the edge of it.  The small birds try to get in there to eat, but the doves take up all the room.  There weight tips the feeder and most of the seeds fall to the floor, where they obligingly gobble it up.

Is there any kind way to get rid of an overpopulation of doves, so we can feed all species of birds.  We love to see the collared doves but they have taken over the back yard.

Where is Elmer Fudd when you need him!

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