Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Doing the Right Thing

These trees are tall and pretty,
but they have an abundance of
berries that attract the wrong birds
 I don't mean to offend anyone.  I do hope you will understand our dilemma. I love nature, and I love birds.  We personally have six of them we care for.  Trees are vital to the balance of harmony in our environment.  You can never have too many.

We purchased our current home six year ago.  One of the most inviting parts of the property was the line of trees that stood tall among the back yard fence.  They were so majestic and beautiful swaying in the spring breeze.  They blanketed the back yard in a cool layer of shade.

You can see the holes left were
my husband and I began removing
what we could.
A few months after settling in we decided to have a garage sale.  The neighbors dropped by to check out the fuss and see the new inductees.  We felt very welcome as one by one they began to introduce themselves.  One particular gentleman who lived across the alley ask me "when are you going to get rid of those trees"?  I just smiled at him and shrugged my shoulders.  Apparently he knew a lot more than I did.  A lot that I still had left to figure out.

The first year was good.  My husband and I enjoyed sitting on our patio in the warm moon lit night and listening to the birds playing in the trees.  So, we blew off the fuss and chalked it up to an unhappy neighbor.  Maybe he just wasn't fond of birds.

Year three came and I decided it was time to get back to gardening.  We also adopted a dog from the SPCA.  The birds still weren't too overwhelming, but they were multiplying in numbers each spring.  They were still nice to listen to in the evenings.  I did begin to notice that my garden was being disturbed.  The tiny buds of my tomato plants, pepper plants and squash were disappearing.

This is what's left.  No shade, no
swaying trees.  I plan to get something
a lot friendlier growing soon
My little plot of crops was attracting even more of the angry grackles.  I began to devise ways to keep them away (see Feathered Friends Aren't Alwas Kind ) from my crops.  They got braver and ventured to the patio to indulge in my dog's food.  Some days the birds ate more than the dogs.  At first my Australian Shepherd had no problem shooing them off.  She eventually got tired of the game.  I was devastated one afternoon when I saw the sharp billed creatures trying to attack her.

As the years went by the birds doubled, and even tripled in number.  If you look at the very top of these trees you can make out the berries that they are attracted to. Yes, we had berry trees that attract grackles like mad. They destroy everything in site and were so numerous the mess they left behind was difficult to contain.   Wash the mess of of the car one day and it was back by morning (the trees hovered right over our driveway). We knew the neighbor was right.   As much as I loved the trees the health risk the birds caused, especially to my dogs, was getting dangerous.

We reluctantly debated for another year before we knew the trees had to go.  At first my husband I decided to take a stab at cutting them down ourselves.  We wanted to leave the hedge row to enforce the privacy fence.  I'll will not forget (at least not anytime soon) holding the bottom of a rope tied to the top of a tree branch.  As my husband cut away at the trunk my feet began to rise off of the ground.  Of course, he couldn't hear my screams because the saw was buzzing in his ear.  I was doing everything I could to get his attention.  I can laugh now, but I couldn't than.   We decided to call in a professional.

The neighbors aplauded our efforts.  I miss those trees so much.  Looking out my bedroom window is such an erie sight without those sturdy giants looking back. What I don't miss is the white mess the birds dropped all over everything, or the large purple stains left behind when the berries fell from the trees.  Later in the afternoon that the trees were removed we were blessed with a quiet gentle rain.  It only lasted about 10 minutes but it was pleasing.  I hope it was Mother Nature saying "I underderstand, you are forgiven".  I plan to replace them with something that doesn't attract grackles very soon.

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