Tater Daddy vs. The Birds

My husband has gone to war.  

Don’t worry too much.  His battle isn’t taking place overseas, but rather on our front porch.  Tater Daddy is at war with some birds.  English house sparrows, to be precise.  I’m not exactly sure what makes them “English.”  Perhaps they chirp with an accent.  Maybe they fly on the wrong side of the sky.  Who’s to say?  All I know is that they have driven my husband berserk for a couple of years now, and folks, it’s getting ugly.

By nature, my husband is awfully tender-hearted when it comes to animals of any kind.  Well, except for snakes.  He shares my hatred for them and would not care if every single one disappeared.  We both despise them and he’ll admit without shame that if he happens upon one unexpectedly, it’ll scare the wits out of him.  Honestly, I can’t imagine that anyone actually likes to be surprised by a snake, poisonous or not.  But, I digress.

If you’re not familiar with these tacky little house sparrows, you’re fortunate.  They’re a complete nuisance.  They build the most gosh-awful enormous nests you’ve ever seen.  They’re like the slobs of the bird community, and they’ll use just about anything they can find.  And I’m sorry to be gross, but they use the bathroom all over the porch.  Their favorite pooping place is my car, so I’m about as fond of these birds as is my husband.

Here’s the kicker, though.  If these birds want another bird’s nest, the sparrows will kill the other bird.  And if there are eggs in said nest?  The sparrow will just knock them right out.  They’re particularly fond of taking over the nests in bluebird and purple martin boxes, and that’s something I just can’t live with.

When the house sparrows took up residence on our porch a couple of years ago, my husband asked me if I would do a little research and find out how to get rid of them.  It didn’t take long to find out that running them off is easier said than done.  I read somewhere that in one particular case, a man trapped several sparrows and banded them before driving several miles out in the country and setting them free.  When he returned home, one of the birds had beat him home and was busy rebuilding his nest.  Their homing instinct is apparently that good.

Someone suggested getting a cap gun or something that makes a loud noise and just letting it rip until we scare the birds off.  Apart from the fact that we really like our neighbors on both sides, it turns out that these horrible birds get used to loud noises quickly and aren’t easily startled.  It figures.

In a moment of desperation, I suggested getting a couple of rubber snakes and putting them in the nooks where the birds like to build their nests.  Tater Daddy reminded me that all we need is for a big storm to blow through and have the wind blow one of them onto the porch.  We’d walk out the next day, see the rubber snake on the porch, forget that we’d even bought the snakes and have heart attacks on the spot.  It’s pathetic, but it’s true.

A few weeks ago, after about 12 rounds of the birds starting to build nests and my husband sweeping away their progress, he ordered this product called Bird-B-Gone.  The box of spikes finally arrived and Tater Daddy got to work putting those things up.  

Here we have a column with spikes and no nest.


Less than 24 hours later, we have a column with the beginnings of a nest.  


Here we have a bird perched on the beginnings of another nest. I didn’t zoom in close enough, but I’m sure she has a smug little grin on her murderous little face.


As much as he hates to admit defeat, Tater Daddy concedes that the birds have won this round.  But he’s retreated to his battle station to consider his next plan of attack.

I’m supporting Team Tater Daddy.  But every now and then I see my husband standing on the porch staring at those birds and their awful nests, and I can’t help but think of Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack.  If the hubs comes home with small explosives and model sparrows made of clay, I’ll know he’s gone completely around the bend.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenna
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 09:39:21

    Good luck Tater Daddy! (and though I am also slightly fearful when a snake surprises me, I do like that they keep down the crawling bug population… I’d rather have snakes than roaches. I guess it’s all a trade off, isn’t it?)…


  2. JLI
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 10:25:56

    I thought surely there would have been a Steel Magnolias reference in there somewhere! Maybe you could try that? Put some firecrackers up there!


  3. Mrs Lemon
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 11:59:11

    I really should stop trying to eat while I read your blog.
    Mrs. Lemon, you are way too kind. (Wait, I hope I didn’t misread that. Girl, I hope I’m not making you sick!)


  4. Kim H.
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 12:21:40

    Yeah – Mrs. Lemon – I need to learn to not be trying to drink anything!

    I thought for sure that those spikes would do the trick… but apparently you have birds of steel!
    Honestly, your and Mrs. Lemon are going to make my head swell. Haha! Birds of steel! Love it!


  5. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia
    Apr 17, 2009 @ 06:29:56

    I keep envisioning the scene from “Steel Magnolias” when the dad used explosives to get all of the birds out of the tree. It worked in the movie, so it’s gotta work in real life, right?? 😉


  6. Diane
    Apr 18, 2009 @ 23:09:36

    We have the same problem here in Texas. Birds tried to build nests over our front door for years until we nailed Bounce dryer sheets over their favorite spots. They left and didn’t come back.


  7. monica
    May 04, 2009 @ 16:56:07

    Bird spikes do not work for birds smaller than pigeons, becuase, as you have seen, the birds can nest right inside them. we were told the same thing, and were directed to a product called bird slope… the slope worked, and this year the birds didnt come back to nest under our eaves! yay!


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