For the Birds . . .

Or perhaps this post should be called, NOT for the birds. This past weekend I planted orange mint and oregano in my window boxes. By yesterday the majority of the mint was gone; plucked by my feathered neighbors for their nests (I assume it was for nests, since I don’t think birds eat plants, though I am in no way an Ornithologist.)

One of my main draws to city living was the lack of yard maintenance. That being said, I love having a few plants around, especially herbs for cooking (and cocktails). One of the most surprising things I have learned in my foray into urban gardening is that animals still present a challenge to your “crops.” I grew up in a rural area and was familiar with the frequent occurence of waking to find lettuce nibbled by rabbits, entire garden crops obliterated by groundhogs or fruit trees snacked on by deer. Naively, I never thought once about herbs plucked by birds or flowers dug up by squirrels.

A couple of years ago I thought I had run across the perfect solution for stopping my plucky little friends: shiny things. Apparently birds see light reflected off a reflective object, think it is fire and move along. I bought a couple pinwheels and stuck them in my planter boxes. Shiny and spinning, that had to look like a raging bonfire to the birds – score! And it did actually work. So when I noticed that my mint was disappearing I thought I would try the same trick, but did not happen to have a pinwheel just lying around (silly, me). So I dug into an old craft box and found some glittery gold and red pipe cleaners. I twisted these into spirals and stuck them near the mint – brilliant!

Or maybe not so much . . . since I came home to find more mint leaves missing. Either the birds in my neighborhood are exceptionly smart or their love of a citrus-y mint-y smelling nest far exceeds fear of fire. So I guess this spring I’ll just have to enjoy my iced tea plain and my juleps mint-less while I think of little bird babies hatching out into a lovely fragrant nest.

Or perhaps, since they are so smart, I could just leave a tiny contract in the windowbox: half for you guys and half for me – deal? Come on guys, I’ll throw in some birdseed . . .

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