We’ve finally finished sorting out Mr Duck’s patch with biosecurity netting. It turned out that the rails I had laying around were exactly the right size to be supports for the jackdaw-proof netting, and so the task was relatively easy to facilitate.
The challenge has been that the jackdaws, especially if they go in two-by-twos, can help themselves to the feed ad libidum from the dispenser. That way they’re heavy enough to release the treadle and open the gap to access the grain and pellets. Moreover, this close contact with wild birds has meant that Mr Duck is more at risk of contracting avian flu than he should be. So now the entire area is covered with netting, and the jackdaws can screech all they like — they aren’t going to get in anymore!
It was still a more convenient job to handle with two people, however, and between us we managed to pull the netting quite taut, and to staple it tightly on every border of the slat fencing. I left a section neatly tucked into the slat openings so that I could fill the feeder when necessary. I noticed, however, late yesterday afternoon, that a sparrow had found its way in already.
It’s no wonder that corvids are so despised in rural communities, even if their intelligence and problem-solving capacity is respected, even while they’re protected. They’re such opportunists, and bullies besides; the little birds are often chased away from their feeding station by the big black wraiths. So the delight we feel to have passively foiled their thievery is very satisfying.
I was looking at the RSPB documentation on the legal status of crows, jackdaws and ravens, and felt a bit bemused to read that there is no convincing evidence that jackdaws prevent garden birds from gathering sufficient feed. But when the feeder we supply has been depleted by half a dozen large birds, there’s nothing left for the little ‘uns, is there? I’m thinking of trying to develop a better strategy to prevent the jackdaw thievery from the wild bird station. But that exercise may take me a bit of time — it’s not easy to outwit the corvids!
Meanwhile, I shall be happy that Mr Duck has unmolested access to his own feeder at last. And that joy will probably carry me through the weekend.