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The Registry of Nature Habitats - Pests of the Backyard
The Registry of Nature Habitats

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  Pests of the Backyard

Pests can be very disheartening to the backyard birder.  It doesn't matter wether they are four legged, have wings or creep and crawl, they all can cause problems.  Some of these pests are:

  • Cats
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Rats and mice
  • Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Insects
  • Birds...yes, BIRDS!

Cats need to be kept indoors.  They will stalk and kill any bird they can get.  Squirrels are probably the worst pest behind the cat.  They will not only consume large amounts of feed, they will destroy feeders if the food is not easily accessible.  Squirrels can be held of by using Squirrel proof feeders  and providing Squirrel feeders if you want them in your backyard.  Squirrel proof feeders work well for chipmunks also. 

Rats and Mice provide a different problem.  They eat feed that has accumulated on the ground.  The first line of defense is removing the environment they like.  Keep debris cleaned up and keep area around feeders cleaned of accumulated feed on the ground.  Trapping them in a havahart trap or using other types of traps is an option.  Using poisons must be done with extreme care that the birds and other animals do not have access to these.  poisons should only be used if Rats and Mice become to numerous for regular control.

Deer will do more damage to your landscape than to feeders.  This may make your yard less desirable to the birds.  Use plants and shrubs that deer don't like or fence in your yard or a portion of your property.

Raccoons usually are not a big problem unless you have a high population in your area.  The best defense against them is not keeping feed out at night.  Either put only enough feed out that the birds will eat during the day or bring in your feeders at night.

Insects will invade your feeders, waterers and birdhouses.  The easiest way to control them is by keeping thing clean.  If your seed gets wet, clean the feeder ASAP.  Change water frequently.  Mosquitos will lay eggs in the water non stop.  Clean and disinfect birdhouses in the fall.  It is a good idea to put a cover over the entrance hole during the winter.  This will keep rodents from using it as a winter home.

Birds can be pests too!  Two birds that are considered pests throughout the US is the European House Sparrow and the Starling.  Blue Jays, Cackles and any birds that visit your yard in large numbers can be considered pests.  Birds are very difficult to stop visiting your yard.  Some tips to help reduce their stay are:

  • Stop feeding during their migration through your area.
  • Move feeders to a new location.
  • Destroy their nests before they can set eggs.  This is usually easily done.  Starlings and House Sparrows usually make nests in cavities and eves of houses.  Make sure if you put up birdhouses that the entrances are small enough to keep starling from nesting in them.
  • Feeders with screens and smaller feeding holes with short or no perching spots will keep larger birds like Cackles, Crows and Blue Jays from feeding at the birdfeeders.
  • Woodpeckers can cause damage to trees, your home and can be very noisy.  We have never experienced any of these but have been told of others who have.  There is no known control except make life unpleasant for the Woodpecker and they may move on.
  • Hawks can present a problem around the birdfeeders.  They look at the birds around the feeders as easy pickings.  Place your feeders and waterers in areas that give birds a 360 degree escape area.  The feeders should also be near shrubs that the birds can escape into.

 

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