Interesting battle over property rights

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Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Rambler » Apr Sun 14, 2019 9:20 am

For the past several months I've watched a downy woodpecker drill a hole in a limb of the cherry tree in our yard. The limb is no more than 12' from our den window.

As the weather has warmed other birds have come to investigate the hole. Chickadees and house sparrows seem to be the most interested. Last week a pair of house sparrows started moving in. The male would come to the hole with a beak full of dead grass. He'd go inside for a bit & then fly away in search of more. While he was gone the female would go in the hole and come out with the stuff her mate had just deposited & cast it to the wind. Guys - what does this remind you of? :D

The other evening the sparrows were hanging around and the woodpecker came back and dove into the hole. The sparrows freaked out and started sticking their heads in the hole - probably pecking the woodpecker. The downy would stick its head out and peck back. I rooted for the downy since it did all the work and because house sparrows aren't native and aren't even true sparrows. Anyway, the battle went on until dark.

The battle repeats almost every day. It doesn't look like the downy has a mate so I'm not sure what its stake is other than maybe a sense of justice. And the sparrows are losing time - sooner or later they need to get serious about building a nest. Time will tell who wins out. Have to wonder how often this scenario plays out throughout the natural world.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby badger75 » Apr Sun 14, 2019 2:06 pm

Every spring a robin (same Bird?) tries to build a nest on top of the porch light. Its a good spot (well protected due to overhang) but the design of the light prohibits much progress. I don't need the family be attacked as we come and go, so what the wind and gravity don't pull down, I do. Its quite a circus.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby bobberwatcher » Apr Sun 14, 2019 5:46 pm

Birds can be fascinating to watch. Was just thinking about the poor things having to contend with this weather and wondering why they come back after flying south for the winter. I guess we'll never fully understand them till we learn how to build a house using just our teeth.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby RonG » Apr Sun 14, 2019 8:33 pm

Birds have teeth?

Birds.jpg
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Phil6 » Apr Mon 15, 2019 9:22 am

Pretty interesting battle, keep us updated. Im rooting for the downy.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Apr Mon 15, 2019 10:25 am

bobberwatcher wrote:Birds can be fascinating to watch. Was just thinking about the poor things having to contend with this weather and wondering why they come back after flying south for the winter. I guess we'll never fully understand them till we learn how to build a house using just our teeth.


The robins were loving life yesterday. They were all over in the snow, in the yards, on the streets, etc. What was happening was the snow was melting quick, since the ground was warmer already. The ground soaked that up. Then when it started to stick, it was still slowly melting, because air temps were like 34-37 in most places. So more water was seeping into the ground. The ground is completely saturated at this point, so you had bugs and worms crawling up out of the ground... into the snow, to not drown, where they were being picked off by the robins.

At one point I counted 14 robins in my front yard, my neighbors front yard, and the street in front of our houses. They were absolutely loving the feast.

Cool story, though Rambler. I'm rooting for the wood pecker, also.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby JB » Apr Mon 15, 2019 10:34 am

Good read. I’m rooting for the downy as well.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Phil6 » Apr Mon 15, 2019 10:55 am

Rambler wrote:downy woodpecker drill a hole in a limb of the cherry tree in our yard


Wanted to point out that our cherry tree also attracts woodpeckers, at a noticeably higher rate than our other trees. They use to love the dying crab apple trees (because they were dying and full of tasty treats) but since the cherry tree has replaced it they seem to enjoy it.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Apr Mon 15, 2019 10:59 am

Phil6 wrote:
Rambler wrote:downy woodpecker drill a hole in a limb of the cherry tree in our yard


Wanted to point out that our cherry tree also attracts woodpeckers, at a noticeably higher rate than our other trees. They use to love the dying crab apple trees (because they were dying and full of tasty treats) but since the cherry tree has replaced it they seem to enjoy it.

Fruit attracts a lot of bugs, which in turn attracts a lot of woodpeckers. It's possible that cherries attract some kind of bug that the woodpeckers seem to find more appealing than others, though I would have no idea if that's why, or not.

My parent's wood siding on the back of their house seems to attract the woodpeckers, too, much to the chagrin of my Dad. :lol:

He's getting ready to hit em with the pellet gun. At least one of them on the siding every morning, pecking at the siding for bugs. They've pecked rows of holes down entire sides of the house, and their pecking echoes throughout the house, waking everyone up because it gets the dogs barking constantly.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Phil6 » Apr Mon 15, 2019 1:52 pm

SmalliesNEyes wrote:Fruit attracts a lot of bugs, which in turn attracts a lot of woodpeckers. It's possible that cherries attract some kind of bug that the woodpeckers seem to find more appealing than others, though I would have no idea if that's why, or not.



No doubt, the sap that bleeds out the tree attracts a lot of bugs. The fruits as well, obviously.

My neighbor has wooden siding and I have seen them do some real damage to the house. Wonder what it sounds like from the inside :shock:
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Rambler » Apr Tue 16, 2019 7:48 am

Some more info/observations. The cherry tree in our yard is a Kinzua ornamental. I planted it as a Mother's Day present to my wife over 30 years ago. Beautiful flowers every Spring but doesn't bear fruit. And unfortunately like most cherries it's dying in stages. Years ago it got some sort of parasite & was dying. I went to a garden center with a sample branch. They told me what the disease was & gave me the cure. It was highly toxic. The label said it caused immediate & permanent blindness. So I told my wife & kids to stay in the house until I was done spraying. Then I put on protective gear - goggles, hood, etc. and sprayed. Cure worked but it's still dying little by little. I think the fact that it's in bad shape attracts bugs & hence all the birds.

Noticed the other day that some Chickadees were getting serious about the hole. This might turns into a real Game of Thrones. I'll keep you posted.

Last, SNE - the woodpecker attacking your parents house might not be looking for food. This time of year they hammer at things that make a lot of noise in an attempt to attract mates. When you hear a woodpecker making those classic thumping noises that's what's happening - they're not looking for food. The way to get them to stop hammering on the house is to give them something better. If you can find a log about 6" thick, 2' long, hollow it out, plug both ends & hang it near the house they might prefer it.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Apr Tue 16, 2019 8:14 am

Rambler wrote:Some more info/observations. The cherry tree in our yard is a Kinzua ornamental. I planted it as a Mother's Day present to my wife over 30 years ago. Beautiful flowers every Spring but doesn't bear fruit. And unfortunately like most cherries it's dying in stages. Years ago it got some sort of parasite & was dying. I went to a garden center with a sample branch. They told me what the disease was & gave me the cure. It was highly toxic. The label said it caused immediate & permanent blindness. So I told my wife & kids to stay in the house until I was done spraying. Then I put on protective gear - goggles, hood, etc. and sprayed. Cure worked but it's still dying little by little. I think the fact that it's in bad shape attracts bugs & hence all the birds.

Noticed the other day that some Chickadees were getting serious about the hole. This might turns into a real Game of Thrones. I'll keep you posted.

Last, SNE - the woodpecker attacking your parents house might not be looking for food. This time of year they hammer at things that make a lot of noise in an attempt to attract mates. When you hear a woodpecker making those classic thumping noises that's what's happening - they're not looking for food. The way to get them to stop hammering on the house is to give them something better. If you can find a log about 6" thick, 2' long, hollow it out, plug both ends & hang it near the house they might prefer it.


Good to know, thanks for the tip. I'll let my parents know. They're pecking perfect lines all the way down the side, though, like they're getting bugs out of there. So IDK. I'll have them try that to see if it'll keep em off, though. Thanks again!
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Rambler » Apr Tue 16, 2019 8:39 am

Well, if they're after bugs they're doing your parents a favor. Good luck!
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Apr Tue 16, 2019 11:22 am

Rambler wrote:Well, if they're after bugs they're doing your parents a favor. Good luck!


Other than all the holes in the siding. :lol:

I'm still gonna have them try your tip, since I don't know if they're doing it for the bugs or not.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Bassin' Ted » Apr Tue 16, 2019 3:53 pm

SmalliesNEyes wrote:.My parent's wood siding on the back of their house seems to attract the woodpeckers, too, much to the chagrin of my Dad. :lol:

He's getting ready to hit em with the pellet gun. At least one of them on the siding every morning, pecking at the siding for bugs. They've pecked rows of holes down entire sides of the house, and their pecking echoes throughout the house, waking everyone up because it gets the dogs barking constantly.


My parents' house had wood siding and we used to take care of the woodpeckers with a pellet gun too. One time I wounded one and my westie darted after the bird, grabbed it, and wouldn't let it go. I chased her all over the yard trying to get that bird. Good times. Great dog.

Hell, my wife's dog won't even chase a rabbit. He literally sits in the grass watching the rabbit try to get in my garden and doesn't do a thing about it.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby bapentec » Apr Tue 16, 2019 8:27 pm

Fun read! I have Robins that nest over my Front flood lights.....I take it down before it's built about 6 times every Spring. They just move around to my Dryer vent flapper and do damage there. I just saw a old pair of boots nailed to a wooden plank idea for a good nesting site for birds and thought that was interesting....I have a cat though, and she hunts....I don't think if one of those babies fell out of that nest and she brought it back as a dead trophy I would be very pleased. This is another reason I removed the bird feeder from my back yard. If she ever killed a Cardinal.........that would not be very good. It's a clash of my loving birds enough to not have them nest on my property because of Annie the Killer cat.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby badger75 » Apr Thu 18, 2019 7:34 pm

I have aluminum siding but cedar trim on our house. I have had to repair 4 separate holes made by various species of woodpeckers over the years. These were holes big enough for a bird to enter IF there was a hollow tree behind it. Once the get through the trim board they leave. The cedar is soft enough this can be accomplished in short order. :evil:
Big pain, ugly mess. Always try to get them repaired quickly b4 the wasps set up housekeeping.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Rambler » Apr Sat 20, 2019 3:50 pm

This is getting a bid weird. The sparrows are around almost all day, every day. Then in the evening, in the gloaming I see the woodpecker come back and go in the hole for the night. The downy is a male - saw a female a couple weeks ago but I think she took up with a guy with better digs. So it's probably gonna come down to whoever lays their eggs first.

On it goes.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby jmdog2003 » Apr Sun 21, 2019 8:52 am

Birds are some of my favorite wildlife. Every year we have sparrows that claims a little hole right above our front window. It's not very easy to see unless you're right under the overhand. Makes me think it's either the same bird or a returning grown up chick.
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Re: Interesting battle over property rights

Postby Rambler » Apr Sat 27, 2019 4:29 pm

Yesterday I watched a house wren check out the hole. It went in, came out with a beak full of fluff. Threw it to the wind & then flew away.

Last year I built a wren house & hung it from the garage. Never seen a wren check it out... :roll:
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