DEAR JOAN: In December I did some major pruning in my backyard. In the fallen branches I found 12 or 13 bird nests. They were mostly in good condition with no sign of occupancy.
In the eaves above my front porch I found several very used bird nests. That is, they each had a mess of poop that I had to clean up. I have now placed newspaper in the nesting areas so that I can easily clean up after each season. I have two questions.
First, were the nests from the trees in the backyard ever used?
Second, will the birds continue to nest on the newspaper above my front porch?
DEAR TIM: I'd say the nests were used but were built so well that they gave the appearance of being new. If only you had a used nest dealership you could make a mint.
I think it's safe to say the birds will rebuild their nests in the eaves of your front porch, with or without the newspaper. I'm not sure, however, that the newspaper will last long in the elements and it could even attract mice and rats looking for nesting material. When you clean up in the winter, you might try something more weather resistant, or just resign yourself to cleaning up after the birds every year.
DEAR JOAN: I have several fruit trees in my yard. I don't mind sharing a bit with the local wildlife, and my dogs, as we have an abundance of plums and apples. The problem I am having is with my apricot tree.
The apricots never get a chance to get ripe. Some critter seems to go for the pits about a week or so before the fruit is ripe so I end up with no fruit on the tree and a pile of cracked pits under the tree. I am surprised they go for the green fruit.
I suspect squirrels as I have seen a squirrel in the tree when the fruit is disappearing, but I suppose it could be something else. Because there isn't a couch under the tree, I can't get my dogs interested in keeping the fruit thieves out. I thought about setting up a motion-activated sprinkler, but I was thinking that spraying the ripening fruit with water probably isn't such a good idea, either. Do you have any ideas how I can deter the thieves and have some ripe apricots this year?
DEAR JULIANNE: It probably is squirrels, but I can't rule out raccoons, opossums, rats, bats and birds.
There are some things you can try.
Let me know how it goes.
Contact Joan Morris at email@example.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.