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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discouraging "pigeons" (or whatever you call them)

Rock Pigeon
The birds typically called "pigeons" prefer to eat off the ground. They are technically called Rock Pigeons (formerly "Rock Doves") and were introduced to North America, from Europe, in the 1600s. They are in the same family as doves but are a different species. Wherever they can perch on a feeder, they will. Knowing this, two modifications in your birdfeeding practices are recommended to discourage them.  
First, most birds have types of seed(s) they prefer. Rock Pigeons do! So refrain from putting cracked corn or white millet in feeders where pigeons can perch.  This will discourage White-winged Doves too.
White-winged Doves

Second, lay down a bunch of branches ("thorny" is good) beneath feeders, to discourage Rock Pigeons and doves from foraging for whatever falls from your feeder.

In general, birds' nesting behavior coincides with the high availabilty of food, so they can be sure of feeding newborns. I'm writing this now because gardening in north Texas may be very different from your customary gardening practices.  You should be planting native "birdscape" plants now (instead of waiting for the spring) so they can be "edible" when nesting birds are in the market.

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