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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?

@Kachina624

@ValuSkr

 

I feel it necessary to share with you the city and area in which I live, including the first words out of the mouth of my new neighbor.

 

We moved to Portland, OR, 2 years ago.  Basically, this city was cut out of the forest, so the animals which existed then are still around, for the most part.  Portlandiers, being the kind of people they are, pretty much let be.  Of course, if you have squirrels in your attic, you gotta get 'em out.  That happened to us once and our phone lines were eaten through twice.

 

As to our next door neighbor: on move-in day, she asked if we had seen the rat.  What rat?!?  Apparently she's been seeing this mink colored rat for quite some time in her backyard and has done nothing about it, but TOLD us that if we see it in OUR backyard, WE should get rid of it.  Tell you what:  That just made me NOT want to kill that rat, but my husband has just purchased some rat traps, so the rat(s) will be no more.

 

Again, we are a city of trees and so have thousands of squirrels all over the place.  The racoons come out only at night and apparently travel via roofs, according to the crew that's replacing our shakes at present.

 

Please understand that I only want to provide food for birds and squirrels in the winter and don't think that's a bad thing.  My mother would have thought it horrid, so maybe that's one reason I love creatures so much.

 

Plus, we no longer have cats.  We've been married nearly 48 years and always had cats.  In 2013 we had to put down our 21 year old female Burmese "Shasta" and previous to that her brother "Nigel" who was 16 (of lymphoma).  When Shasta left us and I was retiring, followed by the move to Portland, we decided against another 2 cats for a number of reasons. 

 

Being able to enjoy animal life outside is a daily joy that I want to continue throughout the winter.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?


@ValuSkr wrote:

You have rats?!  That's not good.  My condo association tells us that bird feeders attract unwanted varmints - squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rabbits, etc. - and, if we insist on them, they should be placed well away from the building where they won't do damage.  I think it's good advice, especially since I garden.. This year, a rabbit did considerable damage in my flower gardens.


So true!! The neighbor on my left had chipmunks eat thru the cement block and get into their basement.....the neighbors on the right had a raccoon make a nest in their fireplace. I have heard of squirrels getting into attics if feeders are close to the house. Both neighbors had feeders next to their house so they do not feed the birds anymore.

 

I have my feeders wayyyyy in the back of my yard.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?

Squirrels get into people's homes two ways--  first through the chimney where they get either stuck, or make a nest and die anyway. A metal chimney cap helps prevent small animals and birds from entering into the chimney and also keeps rain out of the chimney too.

 

Second way they get into an attic is by jumping from overhanging trees near your rooflines and then gnawing through the wooden soffits to gain access. Aluminum siding helps prevent this from happening when applied to the soffits and also regular pruning of your trees helps keep the critters from getting in and the pruning helps the trees by not becoming top heavy (in a wind storm) and when pruned away from a roofline, helps the shingles dry out so moss and mildew don't form on the shingles.

 

One thing I forgot to mention @sfnative about the feeders, they must be cleaned at least every season with a soft brush (there are brushes available at stores or online at Droll Yankees) and some mild soap, allow to either air dry or dry with paper towels and refill the feeders. The seeds get removed and any that are old or rotting can cause disease in the birds you are feeding. If your feeders are near a cement area, that area must be cleared of unusable seeds weekly for the same reason.

 

The saucer holding the water can be cleaned of algae with either a soft brush and a few drops of bleach added to the water. The birds do not just drink the water, they bathe in it too. So keeping it clean is a way to help stop diseases from spreading too.

 

 

☼The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. GBShaw☼
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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?


@JustJazzmom wrote:

Squirrels get into people's homes two ways--  first through the chimney where they get either stuck, or make a nest and die anyway. A metal chimney cap helps prevent small animals and birds from entering into the chimney and also keeps rain out of the chimney too.

 

Second way they get into an attic is by jumping from overhanging trees near your rooflines and then gnawing through the wooden soffits to gain access. Aluminum siding helps prevent this from happening when applied to the soffits and also regular pruning of your trees helps keep the critters from getting in and the pruning helps the trees by not becoming top heavy (in a wind storm) and when pruned away from a roofline, helps the shingles dry out so moss and mildew don't form on the shingles.

 

One thing I forgot to mention @sfnative about the feeders, they must be cleaned at least every season with a soft brush (there are brushes available at stores or online at Droll Yankees) and some mild soap, allow to either air dry or dry with paper towels and refill the feeders. The seeds get removed and any that are old or rotting can cause disease in the birds you are feeding. If your feeders are near a cement area, that area must be cleared of unusable seeds weekly for the same reason.

 

The saucer holding the water can be cleaned of algae with either a soft brush and a few drops of bleach added to the water. The birds do not just drink the water, they bathe in it too. So keeping it clean is a way to help stop diseases from spreading too.

 

 


@JustJazzmom

 

Thanks so much for the very welcome and practical advice.  I'm clearly a novice at this and want to do it correctly.  I've started a folder in Word so that I may reference all of the advice proferred thus far.

 

***

Some Clarification for All:  The condo community we moved into a little over a month ago is situated on gently rolling city hills (not huge ones).  We have a large variety of trees, both deciduous and evergreen, large grassy areas and beautifully landscaped areas around all of the paths.  Each condo has a small, as in quite small, front yard and what I believe is called a "patio garden"  (backyard). Many here have chosen to cover about 3/4 of their patio (with all of our wet weather, one can still sit outside protected from the rain).  We have a cover, through which sun shines - and it's some sotr of hard material, not fabric.  The perimeter of the garden is soil, which is where I plan to create my little Japanese mini-garden.  I'm thinking about removing a corner of the patio's concrete so that I can have room for a water feature.

 

The reason for this explanation is to give you a sense of perspective: it's really, really hard for a crow, let alone a hawk to get into our backyard, given the cover and the surrounding trees.  If we didn't have that cover, I honestly believe those rats would be history.

 

Hope this helps.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?


@Kachina624 wrote:

I would not feed the animals.  You can feed the birds and fight with the squirrels over the bird food.  If you invite other animals, you're just inviting trouble.  They will make pests of themselves and can cause damage to your property.  You will become very unpopular with your neighbors.  Nobody wants mice, rats and raccoons in the neighborhood.  I didn't realize how many critters visit bird feeders until I saw footprints in the snow under the feeder I had briefly.  Another thing you're likely to attract are skunks.  We have them in my neighborhood and sometimes the smell is so potent,it wakes me up at night.


@Kachina624

 

Thanks for your advice.  As previously indicated, the rat or rats have been here some time and my immediate next door neighbor knows it and has done nothing about it.  (The condos are arraged in 2s, with one shared wall.)  The day we moved in she let us know it was OUR responibility to get rid of the rat(s).  Boy, does this lady have her nose up in the air!

 

According to our condo SOPs, P&P and what-not, we are each responsible for ridding our houses and garden of pests.  The Association does nothing with regard to any pest issue, which I find rather puzzling.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?

Hi @sfnative

The best thing you can do about rats is to get rid of vegetation they like to live in, and that means taking out ivy.

 

My homeowners association continues to drag its collective feet about this despite it being explained that not only does it house rats, but ivy is dated and reduces property value.  A horticulture professor once told my class that Los Angeles removed much freeway ivy in order to control the rat problem.

 

There are rats in my neighborhood.  Trapping them can be costly as well as being a full-time job, which is likely why few HOAs take on pest control.  Most association CC&Rs state pest control is the responsibility of each owner. 

 

You may want to first try some of those rodent repellent sprays you can get from amazon and elsewhere.  Basically, they consist of cod-liver oil, which apparently rodents don't like.  I just ordered some.   

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?

Another thing you can do is get rat poison which is really an anticoagulant and they ingest it and bleed to death somewhere (hopefully not in your yard).

 

Another thing that attracts vermin is obviously uncovered garbage. You may be the neatest person in your HOA but your neighbor may be slumming it for Oscar Madison on his day off!

☼The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. GBShaw☼
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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?

@sfnative   With regard to your neighbor and the rat...could it be that you have a man in the house and she doesn't?  Everyone knows it's men's work to eradicate vermin.  LOL.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?


@Homegirl wrote:

Hi @sfnative

The best thing you can do about rats is to get rid of vegetation they like to live in, and that means taking out ivy.

 

My homeowners association continues to drag its collective feet about this despite it being explained that not only does it house rats, but ivy is dated and reduces property value.  A horticulture professor once told my class that Los Angeles removed much freeway ivy in order to control the rat problem.

 

There are rats in my neighborhood.  Trapping them can be costly as well as being a full-time job, which is likely why few HOAs take on pest control.  Most association CC&Rs state pest control is the responsibility of each owner. 

 

You may want to first try some of those rodent repellent sprays you can get from amazon and elsewhere.  Basically, they consist of cod-liver oil, which apparently rodents don't like.  I just ordered some.   


@Homegirl

 

My complaining next door neighbor has at least a dozen plants and small fruit trees in containers.  We have one ancient container in a corner from the original owner, the shell of which appears to be made of concrete and in it are a few scraggly remnants of bamboo.  I bet the bamboo once look quite wonderful.  It's possible the rats are living in any one of these containers or under one of my neighbor's 3 decks (she has a larger backyard).  Who knows.  I'll certainly check into the ideas you've provided.  I'd rather do something humane like encouraging them to find another home than be caught in a trap.

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Re: What's the best way to feed birds and fury friends during winter months?


@JustJazzmom wrote:

Another thing you can do is get rat poison which is really an anticoagulant and they ingest it and bleed to death somewhere (hopefully not in your yard).

 

Another thing that attracts vermin is obviously uncovered garbage. You may be the neatest person in your HOA but your neighbor may be slumming it for Oscar Madison on his day off!


Hi @sfnative and @JustJazzmom

And for anyone else planning to use poison:  Please remember to place any poison inside a covered trap.

If you simply put out poison, there is too much danger of (1) other animals eating it and (2) the rodent dying out in the open where some prey animal will eat the dead or dying rodent and thereby ingest poison.

 

I hope everyone knows this, but I think it's a good reminder.

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