The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

Garden on Monday prior to new ‘We Can See You Predator changes!’

The Dug Out’s Secret Garden Directory!

Series Introduction …

Episode 9# – A Cat NOT Amongst!!

Some of you may recall from the last episode of The Bloke’s New Digs a few days ago The Making Of The Courtyard Garden l showed the changes that were made to the garden itself and in that episode l also discussed some of the further additions to be introduced and some may also recall this poem The Mr Tiddle Riddle where upon l discussed my upset with a particular cat who has a fondness for Pigeon flesh!!

At that time Sadje and l were having a conversation in comments about said ‘annoying pussycats’ and that l had plans to try and prevent them from dillydallying with the birds. Well both yesterday and Monday of this week saw those thoughts taking on body.

On Monday l spent a couple of hours in the garden looking at where the spots were that were predator friendly and pigeon unfriendly and l managed to highlight a few.

Predator Friendly/Pigeon UnfriendlySolution
The biggest problem with a courtyard garden is the enclosed aspect but if managed this serves also as a benefit … we had a few hidey holes that Tiddles could hide within and then when the moment was right engage with the pigeons …. just not with their consent!Remove hidey holes and hideaways.
The flat surfaced walls are still an issue in so far as they allow the cat easy access into the garden, but the height allows for a full birds eye view of the entire garden also – so l had to make the view of the garden easier to see.Increase vantage point vision for pigeons and other birds – – remove ‘bushy’ bushes and long unnecessary overhanging branches.
The bushes in the garden whilst NOT overgrown, were offering protection to Tiddles and allowing the predator to lay in wait …I pruned all the bushes and cut away longer trailing branches as well as cleared the gap between the very edge of the walls and the fencing and the bushes of the garden. It provides a clearer walk through YES, but equally birds can now properly see what it is that is walking on the perimetre.
Certain obstacles in my garden were proving enemies to birds and friends to predators like tables, pots and the compost bins.I moved the table next to the worm farm into the middle of the pathway and moved larger pots around so as to remove hidden areas, the sand table was emptied and also moved into a more central position and this instantly freed up valuable space . I can place additional feeding/grazing dishes onto the flat surfaced areas also.
Pigeons are natural ground/flat surface feeders – they prefer to amble especially when grazing for feed.The flat top of the table now serves as a great area for all birds but also it has an additional vantage point for bigger more clumsy birds and also l realised that another higher up and flatter feeding station would assist.
The worm farm and the compost bins had waterproof camo sheets covering them that each had long overlapping side s. I had noted Tiddles could hide under these. The bins also offered protection.Yesterday Jeremy and l made frames to fit onto the cubicles and stapled the waterproof to fit exactly onto the frame with no overhangs.

Changes ….

These are only small changes, but l hope they will prevent further attacks from Tiddles. ironically as Jeremy and l were discussing the garden changes and the predation of and from Mr Tiddles we found him literally sitting under one of the covers of the bins …. he can no longer do that without being seen.

With the new higher stationed bird feeder [when not filled with water due to heavy rains] l can encourage pigeons here, but equally l can hang some nut feeders down off the hooks and the smaller birds are very quick to spot a predator approaching and squawk further alarms.

If the clumsy antics of a pigeon still get them predated upon by a sneaky cat – as in even with everything provided to assist them – they still insist on feeding on the ground – well l can’t stop them – with all the uprights now in the centre of the path however it might offer them some valuable obstacle tactics and then take off … but if not then l can only shrug and say “a cat not amongst the pigeons, hopefully and maybe!”

I will alsways try to do my bit for wildlife gardening, preservation of species and conservation and that includes looking out for the birdlife – l encourage the birds into my garden freely and therefore l have a responsibility to their welfare also and if there is a predator attacking them – well l have two options – we all do really – 1] stop feeding wildlife or 2] make our gardens safer bubbles for our wildlife visitors.

Welcome to the Secret Garden folks, thanks for reading and see you next time!

19 thoughts on “The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

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  1. Yes, placing feeding stations to encourage their visits make you responsible for making them as safe as possible. But… if the cat catches one and eats it, 🤷🏼‍♀️ that’s part of Nature’s way too.
    I don’t have feeders because I have two cats that have free rein in the yard. The younger male, Diesel Cat, eyes the crows and occasional parrots that come to the pecan tree. I laugh at him. He’s just turn 1 year, and if he can get one of the huge crows, he’s welcome to it.😂😂 some of them are bigger than he is.

    You could hang bells in spaces he walks through, or would that irritate you?

    🌊🦄💫🧸💌

    1. If you hang bells in your garden you’ll scare the birds away until they then get used to them and the noises become part of their grazing routine.

      If a wild cat, fox or other natural predator was to grab a bird l would agree with your statement Angie, sadly however domestic cats are responsible for major declines in common bird populations around the world.

      If we seriously wanted to start saving bird populations we would have to have less cats – the reality is domestic cats should wear the bells 🙂

      But there is always serious controversy over this issue, when you look at the studies of domestic cat population versus bird, mammal and reptile populations you might well be astonished at just how many lives domestic felines bag every year globally.

      Humans in truth do more damage to the planet than domestic cats, but the latter are not that bothered about saving bird populations only slaying them.

      I remember years ago carrying out a study of feral cats in the UK for a client and those figures were … well off the scales.

      The fact is even simpler, until we have regulations in place to monitor cats movement and ownerships we are never going to prevent their own natural hunting instincts taking over but l will wherever l can work my best to keep cats out of my garden when those birds are feeding on my tour of duty 🙂

      1. Diesel wears a belled collar. He’s wearing his 5th or 6th now… we get the safety collars so they pop off with enough pull, so he doesn’t hang himself. But he’s belled.
        I’d love to have more birds visit, but I won’t invite them.

        1. I know, l love cats and birds and all animals, trying to find the balance of fairness and entertainment is the hardest thing going. I love watching the birds in the garden, but l hate feeling guilty when a cat bags one considering l have invited them in to feed and l have to then clean up the mess and worse than that – the cat shit.

          When l was a kid, cats used to bury their mess, now, they just poop on the ground and leave it.

    1. Hey Trisha, thank you – l love all animals but felt guilty encouraging the birds into the garden and then they would get attacked, so l thought, best try and balance this more 🙂

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