The Bird Wars

If life is a bowl of cherries then the grim reaper is a bird – nay, an army of birds, swooping down from the sky, darting through branches and pecking each juicy red morsel until all that’s left is a bare brown pit, swaying in the breeze.

That is what happened to our largest cherry tree a week ago.  Albert and I may have gotten a handful of cherries apiece.  The birds got the rest.

A smaller tree stands a few feet away.  It produces lots of cherries for its size, but they ripen more slowly than the cherries on the large tree did.  Our feathered foes are no more inclined to bite into a sour cherry than we are so this gave us a few days to plan a counterattack.

A friend of ours succeeded in scaring birds out of his fruit tree with snakes, the rubber kind from the dollar store, so, armed with this intelligence, I headed to Dollarama to buy a snake for the little tree.  The outing itself turned out to be an exercise in tactical withdrawal and sneaking behind enemy lines.

They make those things way too realistic.  It was hard to make myself pick up this rubber snake by the tail,

rubber snake (3)

But the one made of tiny, interlocking wooden bits that writhed in my hand was much worse.

The Old Colony Mennonite community where I grew up would find it morally repugnant to offer a child a toy snake to play with.  As I approached the checkout line with my rubbery reptile, I spotted an Old Colony family at the till so I turned around and darted up the food aisle to study the ingeniously designed clover leaf logo on a can of tuna.  It wasn’t entirely cowardice or even a desire not to be a stumbling block to them that propelled my headlong flight.  I found myself trying to hide the snake against my pant leg around everyone else in the store too, which tells me that after all these years, I still find the idea of a toy snake almost as distasteful as do the people who will always be my family in more ways than one.

The checkout lady jumped when she saw his beady eyes staring up at her from the counter but other than that, I smuggled him out of the store and into my car without further incident.  Now he’s posted in the cherry tree.

cherry snake

He’s not very good at it.  It didn’t take the birds long to figure out that a snake that never moves doesn’t pose much of a threat and now the cherries are disappearing almost as fast as they did in the big tree.

I’m not sure what to do with the snake.  He’s not a very good soldier and he’s certainly not living in the house.  I think I’ll discharge him to the barn.  Who knows, maybe he’ll fare better at defending the chicken feed against mice.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. He is kinda creepy looking. I didn’t like the toy snakes Alexi had when he was little, but I refused to give a reaction when he would bring them out. If I had he would have chased me all over the place!

    Sorry about the cherries. What about a net over the tree?

    Reply

    • We haven’t found nets very effective. The birds simply fly under it or wriggle through it. For next year, I’m thinking of putting something in the tree with a sensor that moves or makes a loud noise when it detects movement, like those Santa Claus’s or witches do at Walmart.

      Reply

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