Thursday, May 26, 2011

You Can Move a Nest of Baby Birds--Successfully


This little blue spruce tree in our yard is one of my favorites. I can't take credit for it. It was planted by the previous owner. I love the color and the shape of it. I never realized before how prized the blue spruce tree is until one day our friend the landscaper came by and commented on it. I shared with him how much I liked it and was distraught to find the goat munching on it. He said, "If I found my goat eating my blue spruce, I think I'd be eating the goat!"

Now, this spring has brought us more than our share of rain. So much so, I have had very little time outside. You can tell by looking at the weeds in the garden! So imagine my dismay when, one day, the little boys were showing me a robin's nest in the little blue spruce and I discovered that it was being devoured by caterpillars. Thousands of them. I was mortified.




Caterpillar Damage





If you've read this blog for long you know that I like to do things as natural as possible. My garden is definitely organic. But I have no plans for ingesting my little blue spruce so I was geared up to get the strongest poisons out there to defend it. But alas, the little baby birds would be poisoned as well.

Enter the landscaper friend again. Our 16 year old is now working for this friend and he just happened to bring him home from work the next day. When I showed him the tree he said, "Tent caterpillars." He also marveled that it was the worst infestation he'd seen because these caterpillars generally don't care for spruce. I knew my little blue was special. Just didn't want the caterpillars to think so.

This is what he told me to do: Sevin. Drench it thoroughly. Till it's dripping. If I didn't, Little Blue would die. He said I could try some natural stuff but that it probably wouldn't work with such a bad infestation.

"What about the baby birds," I asked.

"Cover the nest with plastic," he replied. "When the poison stops dripping, remove the cover so the mama could get back to her babies."

Something in me just didn't think that would work. I mean, those little birdies could suffocate. Or, the fumes from the poison could kill them. Or, the mama could try eating one of those horrid caterpillars and be poisoned. Or, or, or....

So, I consulted expert #2. A young man in our church with a biology major and a love for all things in the wild. Surely he would know if I could move the nest and expect the mama to find it. However, he said it was a toss up. And, that if I didn't move the nest, I would surely lose them, so I should at least take the chance.





The Re-located Tree Branch with Bird Nest






And, we did. We cut the branch out of the tree and stuck it in the bush right next to Little Blue. We prayed. We hoped for the best. And it happened. Mama AND Papa Robin found their babies and they are all doing well. But, best of all, we saved Little Blue from those horrid tent caterpillars.



Blessings,


4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Monica. Now, if you have to, you know you can do it, too.

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  2. Hooray! That makes you and your family baby bird heroes. :) I'll have to share this story with my husband. He was a landscape contractor for over 20 years and taught me to more fully appreciate things like your lovely blue spruce.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  3. Wow, Karen. I never thought of myself as a hero. Wish I were to my puppy. I tried to take his bone away to teach him to not do what he did...bite me, viciously, drawing blood. I guess I won't give him another ham bone. :-\

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