Saving Robins From Themselves

Husband and I successfully placed netting on our strawberry bed a couple of weeks ago to prevent depredations by the robins. I didn’t think we had many robins around the neighborhood, but they seem to have hatched out and fled the nest this past week, as I see them all over the yard. They like to hang out in the main veggie garden, as there are tasty worms when the soaker hoses are on. Soon, the red currants will be ready, and they can eat as many of those as they want. I haven’t the patience to pick them.

I always feel a twinge of guilt when we put on the netting, as I worry that we will catch a hapless robin and not find it in time to free it from the netting. I am afraid of birds, but I am prepared when Husband isn’t home to put on a pair of gloves and gently hold a bird while I untangle its feet from the netting. I get the grues just thinking about it. I wish older robins would train the younger ones to avoid the netting. Don’t they say that squirrels and raccoons are getting smarter because we humans are putting more and more difficulties in their way to keep them out of our stuff, and they are learning from us? I don’t see robins getting any smarter.

How do you keep critters out of your garden? When have you had to rescue and animal?

30 thoughts on “Saving Robins From Themselves”

  1. i am a hosta guy displaced at the moment and so the wild is welcome to my garden.
    i have tomato and pepper plants growing in my hay bales and there are no problems with those
    back when i protected my host as i did it with a potion of hot pepper, rancid milk , garlic and rotten eggs in a milk jug shaken over the plants in a quick at arms length gyration that would be repeated every 10days or after a rain . ghost pepper powder takes the second bite away . they do learn.

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    1. That sounds like a vile concoction, tim. Did you keep a supply of rancid milk and rotten eggs on hand at all times so you could whip up a batch whenever you needed it? I’m making the assumption that merely shaking the milk jug at arm’s length wasn’t effective unless you actually splashed some of the contents onto the hostas? 🙂

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      1. That’s still an issue. They’ll leave bruises on Kelly; she wears gloves. My skin is tougher so they don’t usually leave a mark. The trick is to hypnotize them first. 🙂

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        1. I can’t imagine that my busy, impatient grandmother would have taken the time to do that with each and every laying hen she had. I also wonder what the little roosters would have done seeing the hens treated like that. They were bantam roosters and thought they were Rottweilers. They chased me.

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  2. I’ve had to evict various critters that got in my home and became trapped there. Bats wobbling around your dining room always make for excitement. I’ve struggled to convince trapped birds to fly away. (It is harder than herding cats.) The funniest but most exasperating animal invader I’ve chased was a flying squirrel. Those things are amazingly elusive. .

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  3. I am the neighborhood go to person where wild critters in the house are concerned. I’ve helped neighbors get bats out of their homes and birds. In my own home birds and bats and even a chipmunk once. The chipmunk was actually the hardest.

    I’m doing an experiment with my bales this year. Last year after having read something online, I turned my bales cut side up so they were taller. I also stuck all of my brightly colored metal Haitian geckos and dragonflies in the bales, like scarecrows. Last year I didn’t have any critter problems in my bales. No bites out of tomatoes, no chomps out of basil, nothing. So I’ve set up everything the same this year to see if those changes resulted in no critter problems last year or if it was a fluke.

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    1. I’ve done bales both ways. I haven’t decided if it makes a difference. But I’m curious about the scarecrow effect.

      We’ve had trouble with voles getting root crops. Guess they wouldn’t help that.

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    1. Thanks for the candle, VS. Just so you know, I don’t go in until 2pm this afternoon. Because the stem cells are being delivered internationally, the actual transplant will probably start around 8 or 9 pm.

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  4. I never thought about robins getting caught in the strawberry netting.
    I have wire around the bottom of the garden fence to keep the rabbits out. And the plastic snow fence around the top to keep the deer out. And both keep the chickens and ducks out.

    I’ve rescued lots of things. Got a call once, as a township official, to rescue a fawn that had fallen into a window well. They scream. They scream loud! I had no idea.
    The other day one of our ducks hatched out 6 babies. I caught them and put in a pen because otherwise the dogs would get them. Took a while to get Momma duck in there. No way I could chase her and catch her. But I penned the ducklings in the back, left the door open and interestingly, if I was anywhere in sight, she would have nothing to do with it. The minute I was out of sight, she was in the pen in seconds. I simply closed the door behind her.
    I’ve had to pull calves or rescue cows stuck in things. Even had to tip a cow over once; she’d just had a calf and ended up with her feet uphill. Simply from how they’re built, they can’t get up if they end up with their feet uphill. But it was easy to tip her over then too; leverage you know.

    Got a bird trapped in the grill of my car once; had to disassemble a bit to get it out.

    One of our dogs is a rescue dog; the sheriff found her and, again, township duties, called me to deal with it. We just kept her.
    I’ve had to pick up several dogs. I can’t keep them all but I’ve tried a few. Often they don’t work out for one reason or another.

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  5. We have a small fence around our vegetable garden, mostly to prevent Bernie from going in there. He’s a dachshund, so his legs are too short to jump over it. We don’t have a problem with “wild” animals in our fenced in back yard, at least not critters that eat vegetables. They have chewed off the occasional tulip head, though.

    I have rescued animals all my life. I specialize in baby squirrels, they’re pretty amazing little creatures.

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  6. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    We had a power outage here this a.m. which restrained my participation. LJB—thinking of you. We will be gone for a few days so I will be off the trail.

    Fences, smelly spray stuff, things that obstruct nests where we do not want them. We have a net over our cherry tree.

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  7. One thing I will have to get used to when we move south and east is increased garden pests. The lower heat and humidity out here means very few slugs, iris borers, Japanese beetles, and other nasties.

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  8. We have the usual garden fencing to keep out most critters. Last year, though, we had some corn that apparently attracted a skunk (!) that was the talk of the neighborhood for a while.

    I’ve rescued baby squirrels (or was it chipmunks?) by keeping Charlie the Cat inside while Mama was moving the critters to a new nest. I know we managed to herd a squirrel trapped in the Robbinsdale basement once. I recall some gnawed woodwork in my folks’ dining room from when a squirrel got in once while they were on vacation…

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  9. I’ve taken a lot of small animals and birds to the Wildlife Rehab Center. Most of them tend to be panicky and not very grateful for their rescue. I do remember one bird, though, that I took away from a neighborhood cat that was tormenting it. The first time I tried to pick the bird up, it fluttered away from me, and ended up on the ground right near the cat I’d just taken it away from. So I picked it up again, and it seemed to suddenly understand that the cat was the greater danger and sat calmly in my hand and kept looking at me. It didn’t seem to be obviously injured, but I drove it out to the Wildlife Rehab Center to have it looked at. The whole time I had it in the car, it just kept looking at me with a worshipful expression.

    Can’t remember for sure, but I think the bird had a good outcome and was released.

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