Very nice gardeners helpers

harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)June 19, 2012

I think every gardener needs a couple of these. They have not looked at my chickens, but they have gotten a couple of squirrels. (yay owls!!) And they are beautiful.

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I wish we had those in my backyard, my backyard is overrun by squirrels and various bird species - which all love my gardens.

I saw a hawk grab a grackle earlier in the season, but that's about it for predatory birds so far.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:50AM
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That's a beautiful shot!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:57AM
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melfield_wy(5b Wyoming)

Wow!!! Absolutely beautiful!

(Homegardenpa: What is a grackle??)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:21PM
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"Homegardenpa: What is a grackle??"

It's a type of bird. Mostly black with a iridescent purplish head and neck. They look kinda cool at first, but for me, they're more of a nuisance... Though Grackles are nowhere near as bad of a nuisance as Catbirds for me. Catbirds decimate my berries and and also go after peppers and tomatoes.

Because of catbirds all of my gardens are covered in bird netting this year. They are so persistent though that even nets only slow them down. They'll keep checking the nets every day to see if there's a hole or an opening they can use.

My first cherry tomato of the season would have been today, but a bird (more than likely a catbird) ate it... sigh.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Common Grackle

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 2:01PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Oh the owls are so beautiful. And my garden is full of Catbirds also. And Cardinals and House Wrens and Song Sparrows and Robins and Mockingbirds, well the list goes on. They do eat berries like in Serviceberries and blueberries. And they also eat lots of bugs including cabbage worms off my kale. I have water and birdbaths for them to drink so they don't bother my plants.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Wonderful owls! What kind are they?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 6:49PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Beautiful! Barred Owls? We have some out back, but not too close to the house. We have red tailed hawks, american kestrel, and turkey vultures to help around here. The turkey vulture sounds strange, but they quickly clean up after the dog helps reduce the local woodchuck population. Anyway that's a lovely photo.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:30PM
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I got a pair of nesting red tailed hawks in my neighbors pine. Never once seen any tree rats (known as "squirrels" in some parts) in my yard. There is a baby rabbit working on the tips of my cantaloupe but his days are numbered. Yes, every gardener needs a couple extra sets of eyes with 20/2 vision.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 9:29PM
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That is a terrific photo of your garden helpers!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:44AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

So clever of them to perch on limbs of a perfectly matching color!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:01AM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

Yes they are Barred owls. I think they just placed a restraining order on me for stalking. :)
I have been noticing them for about a week, and it might be my imagination, but I don't think there are as many squirrels.
I know this is slightly OT, but I thought they are cool enough to share and not get scolded.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:43AM
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I have barred and great horned owls nearby, as well as various hawks and an ermine. There are no bunnies around this year at all, and it appears they are controlling the vole population that got out of hand last year. Squirrels and chipmunks don't seem to be touched at all. Squirrels don't seem to bother any of the gardens as they seem happy with all the spruce cones in the area to leave the rest alone. Chipmunks are a different matter. It is a constant battle with them to keep them out of the garden, especially the strawberries this time of year. What is really irksome, is that they take a single bite of a berry, drop it, then take a single bite out of another and so on, so they are decimating the strawberry crop. Since the predators don't seem to like chipmunks, and I refuse to use rodent poisons, I may have to resort to the "dipper".... Don't ask.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:16PM
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harveyhorses(7 Midlothian Va)

The voles got all my strawberry plants last year, and since nobody in my family is wild about them the bed got dug up and a hardware cloth bottom was put in. So far it seems to be working, but I have been told they will come in from above. My cats are doing o.k. with they chippers, but I understand your dilema. Good luck.
I don't know if it is the presence of the owls, or what, but there are fewer squirrels than a month ago. Maybe they are at the beach

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:12PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Fantastic pics Harvey!! Thanks for sharing them with us all.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:45PM
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