Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crazy or Drunk?

For the past couple of weeks I have been engaged in trying to stay one step ahead of a pesky cardinal (bird). These birds are known for being territorial and chasing off any others who trespass in their space. But often what they are chasing off is their own reflection.

A few years ago we had a bird who spent most of the year attacking windows in the back of the house. What finally stopped that was the tree it used to launch it's attacks from had to be cut down.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I stepped out the front door one morning to find this red mess all over the front step. I had heard a tapping at the door and when I looked out the side window I saw a cardinal fly off. Well, I went out and washed the mess away but thirty minutes later it started up again.

I tried lurking in the bushes to photograph the culprit but this was the best I could do. After visiting the front door to chase away the enemy it would retreat to the cherry tree in the front yard and eat the berries. Then, loaded with ammunition, back it would come to scare away the "other" cardinal.

Here's the tree that looked so pretty with blossoms a few weeks back but now has the berries that are attracting the cardinal.

A friend was visiting and commiserating with me. We decided that it might be an idea to either remove or cover the shiny brass kick plates that were proving so irresistible to the bird. Removing them was not an option after I discovered that they had been put back in place before the paint was totally dry and they were now stuck to the door. So in despair I got newspaper, folded it to size and stuck it to the kick plate with blue painters tape. Not an attractive look but it worked. (I forgot to take a photo).

By the next day the bird had discovered the enemy was now to be found on the side of the house hiding on the garage door which is conveniently next to a handy viburnum shrub from which attacks could be launched. Every day or so I would hose off the mess but this was getting tedious.

After a week I decided the bird had forgotten all about the front door so I removed the paper because it really looked very tacky from the road view. And within the hour, that darn cardinal was back at the front door. Back up went the newspaper.

But this might be a long and drawn out battle so I had to come up with something better looking than the newspaper. A trip to the fabric store to see what they had was called for. And I found this green vinyl that, cut to size and screwed to the kick plate, is much more inconspicuous from the road.

I'm wondering if the berries are fermenting on the tree and making the bird drunk? Or is this just one very crazy cardinal we have?

So that is the current chapter in my "issues" with wildlife in the garden. More stories will doubtless turn up as I was out staking tomato plants that are growing in the garden and for sure something will find them sooner or later. Parsley planted right next to the tomato plants were chewed to the ground within the first 24 hours but the tomato plants are so far untouched. The bunny has found and pruned the annual flower plants that were still sitting in the sixpacks waiting to be planted out. No photos of that skirmish available just yet.

Ah, the life of a gardener!