May 4, 2010 12:58 PM Subscribe
How can I best protect the baby birds in my backyard from a prowling neighborhood cat?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Pets & Animals (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At this time last year two scrub jays had babies in a nest in a camellia tree in our backyard and when the baby birds came down to the ground as fledglings, a neighborhood cat attacked them and killed them. Their parents put up a good fight and tried to scare the cat off several times but in the end, the baby birds had not figured out how to fly in time for them to elude the cat. We watched helplessly as this all went down and it was pretty awful. We also tried scaring the cat away but couldn't be there 24-hours a day to provide a safe haven for the babies. Also, the adult jays were none too pleased having us around either.
Two scrub jays (the same?) are currently protecting another nest in our tree. We believe there are already babies in the nest. I would like to see if I can save them from meeting the same fate as their siblings from last year.
The cat is prowling again and the adults are squawking all day trying to scare it off. The cat is not all that alarmed by the dive-bombing birds. We do not know whose cat it is and furthermore, don't want to harm it in anyway. I would like to find a way to either repel the intruder cat or protect the nest.
I have some Shake Away Cat Repellent on its way to me (I had to order it online). Is that a sufficient measure? Is there anything I can do in the next few days before the Shake Away arrives? I've seen other cat repellents but I'm unclear if they are dangerous for birds. Scrub jay fledglings spend time on the ground, learning how to fly after they leave the nest; I don't want to put something on my lawn that will harm them. Additionally, I have a toddler that uses the backyard occasionally so it has to be something that won't present an issue for her.
I do not dislike cats and have one of my own. Generally, I don't even mind it being in our yard. I just don't want this cat hurting the babies. Last year's massacre was pretty traumatic as it was also our baby's one-year birthday and it was somewhat chilling to see this all unfold in our yard as I prepared to celebrate the anniversary of our baby's birth. It's sappy but I felt so bad for the parent birds!
(Our cat stays indoors and we are currently keeping the curtains drawn so that it doesn't taunt the birds as that seemed to be happening, too.)