Encyclopaedia of Birdcare
PredatorsUnder natural conditions birds have to cope with a range of native predators, some of which are found in gardens. In addition there are a few predators introduced from abroad, plus the domestic cat.
- Native birds. The most important species in gardens are magpies and other crows, notably Carrion Crows, and sparrowhawks. Nothing can be done to prevent their attacks, apart from using feeders and nest boxes which are inaccessible to them.
- Native mammals. Foxes can be thwarted by siting feeders well off the ground, but small carnivores such as weasels are more of a problem if they can reach nest boxes. Long-tailed Field Mice (Wood Mice)can wreak havoc by attacking eggs or young in nest boxes, but mouse pellets pressed into the tree trunk should discourage them.
- Introduced mammals. Although great predators of eggs and chicks, rats generally cannot reach those in nest boxes. squirrels can damage or take over the boxes as well as eating their contents.
- cats are undoubtedly the most important predators on birds in gardens, and are difficult to deal with effectively.
Please note: Separate advice is given on problems caused by cats and squirrels.
It should be realised that native predators, as opposed to introduced and domestic animals, form a legitimate part of the ecosystems and biodiversity of any area, and wild bird populations should be able to cope with them under normal conditions.
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