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Mutant in paradise... Mutant in paradise...

Mutant in paradise...

Last season I ramped up my brugmansia hybridizing efforts using brugmansias with mutant and deeply serrated foliage.  The results of those...

Fred's Garden Blog

After a nearly five year hiatus, Fred's Garden Blog is back! Now you can enjoy and experience the gardening exploits and adventures of Fred in his quest to hybridize brugmansia and keep his jungle and nursery under control.

Sommer Gardens / Thursday, April 12, 2012 / Categories: Creatures, Believe it or not

Birds gone wild!

Now that the majority of my Angel Trumpets are growing in an enclosed shade house I never expected birds to become a nuisance....that is until I discovered this giant birds nest with plastic plant tags as one of the primary building materials!  Now I know why so many of my plants are missing their identification tags.

birdsnest-sideview.jpgFor the past couple of years I have had problems with birds yanking the pot tags out of my Angel Trumpets in my open growing area. I assumed the birds were after the snails that seem to enjoy sliding around on the smooth surface of the tags, and the dislodged tags were just part of the process. Now I know the real reason, the birds find the tags to be a great material for building nests. I'm certain the birds have learned that in our tropical climate, plastic is a much better building material than twigs.  This nest appeared to be made up of about 50% plant tags and the balance with twigs and other scraps. Rather than use the Brugmansia scraps inside, stronger twigs were brought in from the citrus trees outside, 

birdsnest-closeup2.jpgThe ambitious bird(s) responsible for this next built it in less than two days.  I have not finished the two sliding doors on the sides of the shade house, so the structure is not completely sealed off to the outside critters.

The nest was built in the crotch of a larger Angel's Goldface Brugmansia tree and as you can see the nest contains an assortment of building materials besides plant tags and citrus tree branches.  Included in the nest construction is flagging tape, a wrapper from a roll of masking tape, pieces of greenhouse poly, a couple of dried seed pods, masking tape scraps, and more.  I was surprised to see so many of the larger 1 x 11 inch interlocking tree tags incorporated in the nest. Those tags would require the thieve to pull the main part of the tag back out through the eyelet in order to release it from the branch.  That is certainly a lot more work than just plucking a tag out from the soil.

birdsnest-groundtags.jpgOn the ground below the nest, leftover tags were scattered around.  I was surprised to see that many of the tags came from plants on the opposite end of the shade house, rather than from plants close to the nest. 

As you can see in the overhead shot below, the inside of the nest has not been finished. I think it has been about three days since I captured these images and from what I can tell, no additional work has been done to the nest.  Perhaps the builder is out looking for a lover so the nest can be put to use.
I'm anxious to see what type of bird was responsible for this building project.

Right now I don't have the heart to remove and destroy the nest.  If nothing changes in the next week or so it will be easier for me to get rid of it.  If I find out a critter eating bird built it rather than one that prefers to snack on seeds and berries, the odds of the nest surviving will be greater.

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