We have a pair of blue tits currently living in our bird box which the girls have named Pedro and Alice! We get blue tits nesting in this box every year and judging by the "to-ing and fro-ing" that Pedro and Alice do during the course of the day suggests there are babies in the box. We haven't seen them, nor have we heard them, but I suspect the cats know they are there!
We have spent the past week on bird watch - that is to say, watching for the cats and then hurtling out of the back door to shoo the cats away. There are two black cats that normally have a wander through our garden at various times of the day, they come over the back gate, walk along the fence and then jump down the other side. However, the other morning I came down, opened the curtains to find one of the black cats sitting on the fence watching a blue tit in the tree. The scene was reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon when the cat sits watching Tweety Pie in her cage - I flew to the back door, wrenched it open, the cat made the quickest exit over the fence I've ever seen it make. I've seen the cat literally hanging in my apple tree (which is next to the bird box) and jumping onto the box which was left hanging at a very jaunty angle rather precariously - out I went. I've seen both cats sitting on the ground intently watching the bird box with murder in their eyes - out the girls went. I've seen the cats sitting on the shed roof waiting to pounce - out the girls went.
Now, generally speaking I am happy for the cats to wander through the garden, because I figure where there are cats there will not be any mice or rats (not that we have rats you understand, but we did have mice in the garden when we had our two rabbits and we have seen evidence of mice in the shed). However, none of us are prepared to sit by and watch the cats terrorise defenceless little Pedro and Alice and their babies - measures would need to be taken. The husband was all for (and still is) metal spikes along the top of the fence! Too drastic, dangerous and cruel for my liking. So off he went around to our local "cheap" shop with younger daughter to buy a large water pistol (gun) and came back with a medium sized water pistol and a bag of moth balls which he had been told would deter cats. Well, I can tell you that moth balls do not deter cats and the water pistol is useless. The husband then said he would get a "sling-shot" - which really didn't require comment from me - really I think he needs to grow up. We then bought three plants which apparently cats and dogs avoid because of its scent - Coleus Canina otherwise known as Cat Shoo!
As you can see from the photograph above - the husband has hung a pot next to the bird box and we have two more waiting to be planted but which are sitting on the ground below the box at present -
I'm hoping the plants will work - they come in two forms, either a green leaf (as we have) or variegated leaf and will have pale blue flowers in summer. Failing these, the next purchase will have to be something that emits a sound only heard by animals. However I have to say, that the cats' visits have been less frequent and they have tended to pass through rather than hang around, so maybe the plants are working.
The lengths we go to - I just hope Pedro and Alice appreciate all that we are doing for them.