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Cecropias

Posted by misssherry Z8/9MS (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 10, 08 at 13:33

The same nice man from Long Island, NY, that sent me the luna eggs last year sent me some cecropia moth eggs recently, and three of them have hatched so far today. Even if they all hatch, I won't have too many, at least I hope I don't!! :)
Anyway, you can't get more beautiful (or bigger!) than a cecropia moth - if I redecorate my house, I plan to use the cecropia colors as the color scheme for my entire house, with varying shades used more in some rooms, and other shades used in other rooms, but every room incorporating some of their colors. I think it'd be gorgeous!
Here's a picture of my cecropia nursery. I took an old bouillion jar, punched a small hole in the top, added water, inserted a fresh piece of wild black cherry new growth (is there any more useful tree for raising moths and butterflies than prunus serotina?), put the eggs on the lid, and now that they're hatching, they've climbed up on the leaves. I put this in a plastic container that I covered with mesh, which I secured to the top of the container with clothes pins. Then I put this in a reptarian cage - when the cats are bigger, I can let them roam around freely in the bigger cage.
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Here's a close-up picture of one of the hatchlings - they're just fuzzy little black things!
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I'm looking forward to raising this bunch! :)
Sherry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cecropias

Dear Sherry,
congrats,
they are so much fun ...
I raised Luna's and Cecropia's in Florida before and they were a pure joy to watch growing into gorgeous moth..
Best of Luck
Butterfly-Greetings
Susanne(SUE)


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RE: Cecropias

Awesome! I love the Instars when they are green with the little yellow and blue "horns", but I also love theyre fuzzy little look. My Io eggs just hatched to, theyre tiny and orange. I love your little nursery, I think Ill try using that myself if you dont mind! :)
Good Luck & keep us updated on them!
S.B.


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RE: Cecropias

Please do make a nursery like mine for your hatchlings, SB! It's working very well for me, keeping the hatchlings and very early instar cats from roaming and getting lost, without cutting off air flow.
A female promethea of mine mated with a wild male -
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I released her to lay her eggs in the wild, but she laid me a very small cluster in the mesh of the reptarian cage she was in. They hatched, but most of them died, and now I've only got two, with one being considerably bigger than the other. They're eating prunus serotina/wild black cherry also. Here's a picture I made of the bigger one a few days ago - he or she has already grown a good bit -
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I'm figuring since no more cecropia eggs have hatched today, three may be all I get - eggs usually hatch all at once. So I'll discuss and post pictures of the prometheas and the cecropias together on this thread.
By the way, my two luna cats made their cocoons. I don't know if they'll emerge this year or overwinter. I've also got about ?7 tobacco hornworms, all but one of which have gone underground and pupated - the other one is about to do the same. I made them an "underground" to burrow into by putting clean, pest free dirt into an old terrarium, putting leaves on top of the dirt, then putting the terrarium in their reptarian cage.
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Did you put some sticks or skewers in with them, MissSherry? Of course, I know you plan to do that since you're so into raising moths (like me?).

Haven't found a single moth cat yet this year, except for one lonely 8-spotted forester (which I leave on the vine due to their complex pupating process).

I will probably get some in the fall. But, since I'm not really raising anything so far this year, it's okay with me. The darned milkweed bugs have eaten all the foliage off of both of my purpurescens. It does appear, though, that it may be starting to grow new leaves. Cross your fingers. I may need to dig them up and put them in some pots with some netting over them in order to let them grow larger b4 the bugs completely kill them.

Oh, my, I just love those silk moths. Maybe one day!

Susan


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RE: Cecropias

MissSherry--I love reading about your moth-raising and the lovely pictures too!


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RE: Cecropias

The black, white, and yellow cats reminded me of Black Swallowtail cats! I had to do a double-take!

You're so good at this, MissSherry. I'll start saving my bouillon jars. I also have baby food jars I use as well. Darn it, I just bought some chicken bouillon at the store, but got the Knorr, which comes in a box! I knew I should have bought the other brand.

Susan


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RE: Cecropias

Thanks, Susan and BG! I enjoy posting!
Susan, the empty bouillon jar was just the only one I had that was about the right size - I washed it good, didn't want any salt left in it! :)
Two more cecropias have hatched this morning, so maybe cecropias hatch incrementally - one is eating its egg shell, the other one is just sitting there like it just got out and is trying to figure out where it is. :)
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 11, 08 at 13:01

They are very, very cool cats!

Make sure you don't take on too much too fast. Sounds like you have a lot going on. Cecropias will truly eat you out of house and home. Wait 'til they're at the end and six inches... you'll be glad you only have five!

Sorry about your prometheas.... maybe someone will have some second brood ova later in the summer and you can restart them. I think prometheas are my (current) favorites. I like that they feed en masse. I also like that they call in the afternoon.


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RE: Cecropias

So, so interesting. I learn so much from your postings, MissSherry. Keep it up. And, I love seeing the pictures. I might find some of these cats in the wild on the WBC trees around here and I'll know what they are from seeing your photos.

Sandy


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RE: Cecropias

I'm up to 7 now!
I'll keep posting, Sandy - I enjoy sharing butterfly/moth stuff with people who enjoy it like I do. It's a bonus to me if you learn something that benefits your own lep raising later on.
And I won't take on too much, Ken, although, if they all hatch, you're right, by the time they get 6" long, I'll be cleaning up a lot of poop!
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Well, a total of 8 cecropias hatched, they've all grown and their looks are changing. I took a picture of the bigger of the two prometheas - I think he/she is darling!
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Hes/shes so cool! I might get some Cecropia eggs myself, but Im still deciding. Ill put some pictures of My Io caterpillar on corn... thank God he ate it! Hes only 2 cm and already hes filling the tub with poop! Good Luck! I love his/her little yellow head!
S.B.


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RE: Cecropias

Here's a picture I just took of 4 of the 8 little cecropia cats - they've grown a lot, and their coloring has really changed!
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Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Nice,
They grow so fast, and their colors change so much!
S.B.


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RE: Cecropias

A few years ago I got several cocoons of the polyphemus moths from a friend and two hatched at almost the same time and mated. I ended up raising about 200 cats and it absolutely exhausted me. I was raiding local birch tree leaves and branches including my own and at the end it took six large branches twice a day to satisfy them. Never again! But I would love to raise some promethea moths as I have never done that and at least one or two or maybe three or four Hickory Horned Devils. The only thing we have out here are the polys and Hyalophora euryalis which is very much like the cecropia. The cecropias were always my favorites because of their coloring and size. I raised a few several years ago thinking they were polys because that was how the eggs were labelled and at that time I had not had experience raising either. I was surprised when I found out because I raised them on a poly host plant and not a cecropia host plant. Murray


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RE: Cecropias

They all continue to grow and change -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I've got to tell you about what happened yesterday. Several weeks ago I brought in all the tobacco hornworms off my tomato plants that I could find to raise myself, and fortunately, I found most of them while they were small. I missed one and only found it after it had gotten big. It didn't have any of those white cocoons on it, so I thought it hadn't been parasitized. Well, yesterday the moth cage was full of flies! I assume they're the dreaded tachinid flies - they looked like typical houseflies, just bigger and with redder eyes. I squished as many as I could, but some flew out. This is the first time I've raised tachinid flies! :( I assume they came from the big cat, but I guess the flies may have come from one of the smaller ones. This morning I found an adult moth in the cage - I'll be releasing it tonight - 'sure looked better than flies!
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

I love the colors on your cats. Looks like they lose their spikey hairdos as they mature! Sorry about your fly invasion. Ugh.

Sandy


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Thats a great picture! I keep saying Im gonna put some pictures of my Io cat... but its just to small for my camera yet :( My female Regalis hatched a few nights ago and I stood up all night while she was scenting to keep a keen eye out for males, but sorry, no eggs, or males.
Photobucket
S.B.


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RE: Cecropias

Those cat pictures are a trip!

Sherry, how are the moth populations doing your way? Have you recovered from Katrina yet?

Jeff


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RE: Cecropias

I'm still cleaning up from Katrina, Jeff. There are still plenty of dead pine tree bottoms, where the tops of the trees broke off, and only the bottom portion of the trunk remains. I thought the woodpeckers would use the pine trunks, but they haven't, preferring the few dead oaks on the property - they've riddled them with nest cavities. My brother just volunteered to bring his chain saw over and cut the remains of an oak tree that fell the other day - it had broken in half during the hurricane, but didn't die, and the way it was leaning on other trees, it was almost impossible to reach. So when we had a big rain the other day it fell, and now we've got to deal with it. Words could never describe the enormous impact the hurricane made on the environment around here. The trees that survived have grown very fast, though, getting more sunshine than they did before. Since magnolias, oaks, maples, wild black cherry and others survived wonderfully, and loblolly pines didn't, the percentage of pines is much lower now than it was before, plus I've planted more trees, most of them being broadleaf trees.
The moths seem to be slowly returning to normal - I've seen both luna and promethea moths that I didn't raise. I just wish I could see some imperial moths - they were common before the hurricane, but I haven't seen a single one since then, and the two pupae that I ordered haven't emerged yet.
Let's pray that we don't have a hurricane this year - I dread every August and September!
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

  • Posted by ladobe 9 - Las Vegas (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 08 at 17:01

Sherry,

Sure glad you got through it OK gal. Those of us who have not had to survive a hurricane the likes of Katrina can only visualize it through the writtings of those that did. So I appreciate your updates on what the lasting effects of it have been, especially to the natural things. It's pretty amazing how nature eventually rights itself and gets back to the business of life. So in time you should see all of the species return. Too bad it's not as easy for the people who were devastated by it.

Biggest natural disaster recently I've been fortunate enough to observe the rebirth of after was from the fires in Yellowstone back in 1988. I was in the area during the fires that summer (doing the bugs of course), and traveled through it for the next three summers after going up to the Beartooth Plateau, and again off and on until the mid 90's. While it will be hundreds of years before all traces of the burn are gone, nature had already started to rebuild by the very next summer and it was life as usual for the wild things that call that area home. However, the new attitudes resulting from the fire and overall cut in funding is letting Yellowstone slip back into the wild place it started out as. That's a good thing too IMO, but about 3 million tourists a year wouldn't agree with me.

L.


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RE: Cecropias

Yes, Larry, I had forgotten about the Yellowstone fire, but now that you mention it, I do remember how terrible and heartbreaking it was for the wildlife. Recovery from that can't be quick.
My 5 1/2 acres of woods were the most incredible mess you can imagine! Here's a picture of my old dog run, just one very tiny area of the destruction - the oak tree you see was one of many that had to be cut to allow us to get to the house.
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And here's what I looked at when I finally stood on the front porch, looking at my detached garage -
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Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

The prometheas have made their cocoons, and the cecropias continue to grow. I think this one has just recently gone into the last instar, since its skin is baggy - that would explain why it was so intent on eating!
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Does anybody know if this is indeed the last instar?
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Yup Sherry, defiantly a 5th instar cat...get ready for them to basically double their width and increase their eating 10 fold!


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RE: Cecropias

I just added lots more cherry for them to eat, Irishguy - I figure they'll be needing it!
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

The biggest cecropia cat emptied its bowels day before yesterday, then proceeded to move around the cage in circles, so I knew it had cocooning on its mind. I put lots more cherry branches in the cage, both in water picks on the side of the cage and in the left-overs container on the bottom. It never got on these branches, but occasionally I'd see it trying to crawl under the foam rubber at the bottom of the cage, so I got the cat to crawl onto a cherry branch, then moved this branch to the bottom of a critter keeper, and then piled more leaves on top of that. Well, it relaxed and now there's a cocoon at the bottom of the leaves. I had thought that cecropias would cocoon like lunas and prometheas, that is, just crawl into some leaves on a branch in the open and do its thing - there I go thinking again! :) Cecropias are apparently somewhat like the tunneler regals and imperials, except they like to be underneath leaves, not dirt.
The others are SO fat and heavy! There are three of them on one branch in a water pick right now, and when I picked it up to add water, I was glad I'm strong and in good health - you need strength to pick up three of these fatties! :)
I first posted about the hatchlings on June 10th, which would be 45 days or 6 1/2 weeks ago - somebody was commenting on the length of time it takes to raise moths, and I think cecropias take as long as any I've raised, right up there with regals.
Sherry


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That was me, MissSherry. Amazing. And you have to keep feeding them all that time!

Sandy


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RE: Cecropias

Anyone here ever have success raising cecropias on maple? I have some new hatchlings and have much more maple available to raise them than what I used last year (sassafras). All of the info that I can find on the internet states that maple is one of their hosts, but they don't seem to be taking to it very well.


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RE: Cecropias

I've linked you to a long list of possible cecropia host plants, which includes several different types of maple. I've read on other sites though, that red maple/A. rubrum is toxic - I've also read that it's supposed to be toxic to cattle.
Do you have any wild black cherry/Prunus serotina? It grows everywhere in the east, and mine thrived on it.
Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: Cecropia Host Plants


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RE: Cecropias

Thanks for the link misssherry. I don't have any cherry in my small wooded lot here in Indiana, but I do have quite a bit of black walnut which is on that list. I think I'm going to try that. Thanks again!


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RE: Cecropias

I wish I could find some of those around here... I would have to buy them from someone. ): They're beautiful; do you know anyone who is selling eggs or anything?


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RE: Cecropias

cdsetx8,

Cecropias have eaten almost all maples I've ever tried (I've had a couple mystery maples in my yards that the cecropias would not eat). One person I give eggs to raises them on A. rubrum. Some people claim silver maple is a cecropia's favorite food. YMMV I currently use Norway and box elder.

Anyway, the problem I have with many maples is cuttings do not hold up in water. The leaves wilt in nothing flat. I get around that by using rearing sleeves on those maples.

To find out what host plants are on your property, I suggest getting some of those bags at the bridal store and putting a few cats on each possible host plant (I include anything on my property that has enough leaves to be useful). Record your results (or you'll be wondering someday which worked with which cats). You'll lose some cats but you'll be prepared next time you need alternate host plants.

KC


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RE: Cecropias

my cecropias are flourishing on buttonbush. it does great in water. they are in their 5th instar.

sandy


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RE: Cecropias

Sandy, take a look at the above picture of my cecropia cat with the promethea cat - that's where my mid-instar picture was. I guess I didn't find it, because I labeled it with the promethea name first. That mid-instar cats looks like yours looked, with the multitude of knobs and spines, when you first posted their picture and were asking what yours were.
Sherry


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RE: Cecropias

Sandy,

I was very happy to read about the cecropias on your buttonbush. I planted 2 this year as nectar sources and regal host plants. The fact that cecropias will eat them too makes me want to plant more.

I normally don't use Norway maple for cecropias (it is my main host plant for polyphemus and imperials) but a couple cecropias decided to leave their crabapple and jump over to the poly's Norway maple that was in the same aquarium.

Of all the plants I've used to raise cecropias, they seem to do the best on paper birch and lilac. A Japanese beetle infestation took my paper birch out of action and I sold the house where the big lilac was.

I planted 8 chokecherries 2 or 3 years ago (my notes are on another computer) to be my new main cecropia food source but the deer around here keep using them as a food source so I don't know when they will be big enough to be used.

This is the second year in a row my crabapples are not doing so well so I'm having to rely on box elder maple more and more for my cecropias. Thank goodness box elder grows like a weed on my property.

KC


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RE: Cecropias

Thanks for the info and suggestions KC. They were eating the walnut, but it wants to shrivel almost as soon as it's cut. I'm back to the maple, which is a sugar maple (A. saccharum according to a tree book I have). They're eating it and I have plenty, so I think I'll stick with it.


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RE: Cecropias

Miss Sherry,

I saw the cat in your photo and realized it was just like mine. I'm finding it fascinating that you posted this thread a year ago. My cats are about 4 inches long and growing rapidly. There are 4 of them and they've lost their tufts. They are the only cats I'm currently feeding. My buttonbush is huge and is handling the trimming. I actually have pruned it back each year, and this seems to have encouraged it to fill out. The bush is at least 8 feet tall. I'll post when the cats pupate.


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RE: Cecropias

  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 14, 09 at 10:16

I currently have 10 cecropias going thanks to a wonderful friend in CT. After a minor disaster w/ raccoons chowing down my winter diapause pupa this spring I am very, very, very happy to have them!

I hope she reads this so she will know they are starting to get big and fat!


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RE: Cecropias

Oh Kenneth, I'm glad you are having good luck with the cecropias. I'm in quite a predicament, however..I have about 75 of them. I sure wish I had sent more to you.

I'm not sure if I'll release some onto the tree because the birds eat them very quickly.

I also sent some to a nice lady in upstate New York.

Maryann


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RE: Cecropias

This thread should be a "sticky" if we had such a thing here.


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RE: Cecropias

Had a BIG one eclose today. She is around 7.5". It is tough to measure a live moth :) She is the second really big one I've had this year but I never got around to measuring the first one. I'm guessing both were from the huge cats I had on ash last year.

My cecropias are enjoying their diapause. More than half of mine are still in their cocoons. Had 5 eclose today so maybe they have finally had enough sleep.

Had a female poly out last night. At least one male showed up but he needed some lessons from Dr. Ruth.

KC

Here is a link that might be useful: BIG female cecropia - 761k


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RE: Cecropias

Hehehe! I've had lots of males show up to visit 'calling' females that needed some lessons from Dr. Ruth. They just banged around the cage like they were all excited about something, but didn't know what!

That female cecropia is HUGE, KC! 'No telling how many eggs she's carrying! I've seen a female imperial moth that was about that big, but never a cecropia.
Congrats!!

Sherry


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OT: Poly

I put my bird cage out tonight with a cecropia female (not the BIG one), a female poly plus the clueless male from last night. Just checked the cage and saw a poly male doing his best to hookup but having no luck. Went outside to find that another poly male had already scored and was none too pleased with the other guy trying to shove his way in. It was 12:16 AM. Has to be some kind of record for me because I do not get male polys showing up this early. 1:30 to 1:45 is sort of normal early.

I have a lepidoptera presentation at a preschool tomorrow. These extra male polys will be handy since I have only one available that I raised. Polys are not as cooperative as cecropias when it comes to sitting on your finger so I like having multiple polys to choose from.


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RE: Cecropias

Got a very big surprise when I walked into my moth room today: a male cecropia moth had eclosed from a 2010 cocoon. My new record for late cecropias. Works out great because I have two school visits I'm doing this week. I'm going to be able to show 2nd, 4th, and full-size 5th instar cecropias cats plus a live cecropia moth all in the same day. I've never done that before.


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RE: Cecropias

I have previously posted on here about the good ol' days and how I would someday post a pic. Well, I found a pic but not my posts so I'll post here.

The good ol' days were when I could just put female cecropias on the side of my house for mating purposes. Worked great until some predator figured out I was serving up dinner and I'd come out to find wings scattered in the grass. I was forced to protect them and started putting them in a birdcage.

Anyway, the 1999 pic I'm posting shows 3 mating couples to the left. The moth on the right is a male who showed up late for the party.

KC


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RE: Cecropias

Cool photo! I am thinking about designing a moth mating box. I think I would take something like a bat box and put some kind of hardware cloth on the bottom or even another box of harware cloth inside. That way maybe he can find her but the birds wont.

Thanks for the photo,
Elisabeth


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