View Full Version : "sharing" water with the birds
Jan. 14, 2009, 11:41 AM
I have a heated waterbowl for my barncat inside the barn. It's raised off the ground along with her dish for dry food on a table. I cover the table with a towel so her little paddypaws don't get frostbit (yes, I am an overprotective weenie & I know it).
The problem is the sparrows sharing the barn are using the bowl as a birdbath and making a mess. I know they need water too, but I am getting tired of de-icing the table and replacing sodden-now-frozen-solid towels.
They also eat any dry food left out and poop all over both bowls & table.
Occasionally barncat gets a free bird-sushi meal but not often enough to discourage them from visiting the buffet/wetbar/spa.
This morning the dim little bulb in my brain suggested moving the waterbowl to the floor so at least the table will remain dry. We'll see how well this idea worked tonight.
Any other suggestions?
Jan. 14, 2009, 06:39 PM
Going with the general idea that the birds would prefer NOT to be near the cat, why not put a specific bird-bath water dish somewhere else, away from the catfood?
You could sprinkle some birdseed around it so they get the idea.
Jan. 14, 2009, 06:43 PM
Sorry no help here, actually I have a similar problem, crows keep sitting on my 60 gallon heated water bucket in the field & share water with my horses :mad:.
I have no clue how to stop it.
I hope there's no harm in crows & horses sharing water (ie diseases or so :confused:)
Jan. 15, 2009, 06:57 AM
Guin - I'd rather dsicourage the sparrow's visits inside. As much as I appreciate them bug-eating, I would prefer they roost elsewhwere.
Bird-poop is not what I had in mind for barn decor. I'll be scrubbing bigtime come Spring :(
Moving the dish to the floor accomplished what I wanted - the food area remained clean and actually it seemed like the waterbowl was not as used. Maybe being closer to the ground and thus easier for cat to hunt them discouraged use?
Lieslot: not sure if crows carry any disease besides fleas. Judging by the amount of sparrow poopage in my waterbowl, I'd think the mess they make in a 60gal trough could be a nuisance
Jan. 17, 2009, 08:55 PM
dont like to enter,but cats will.
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:08 PM
Birds can be carriers of Giardia which can be picked up by most mammals - dogs, cats, humans. I can't remember if it causes problems in horses, I know deer can also be carriers.
Jan. 17, 2009, 11:33 PM
EPM--the protoza that causes it comes through feces of possums, raccoons, etc. who have eaten dead birds carrying it. So please discourage birds around the hay and water as well as possums, etc. The possums are just intermediate hosts.
Jan. 18, 2009, 03:12 PM
Kidding aside, I made a small 'birdhouse' area at the back of my hay barn. I stuck up a few boxes/perches, added food and a water supply. The barn blocks the wind and the worst of the weather, so the birds are quite happy to use it.
Jan. 23, 2009, 03:01 AM
There are tons of things in a barn, besides water, that will attract birds. Really, you don't want them around the barn. IMO, the best/ easiest way to do that, is give them somewhere to go (and it's helpful from an ecological standpoint as well :)). Find a heated birdbath (they aren't too expensive), and a few cheap feeders on shepherd's hooks (or any type of pole you can point them too), a variety (maybe one "regular", one tube and one platform feeder) of feeders and place them in a spot that it's okay for the birds to be (that makes sense for them). a backyard that has some bushes (not too close though.. a few feet away) and a little away from trees (so you don't get squirrels in the feeders), and they'll leave your barn alone, and you can enjoy the birds in the backyard.
Jan. 23, 2009, 05:46 AM
Find a heated birdbath (they aren't too expensive), and a few cheap feeders on shepherd's hooks (or any type of pole you can point them too), a variety (maybe one "regular", one tube and one platform feeder) of feeders and place them in a spot that it's okay for the birds to be (that makes sense for them). a backyard that has some bushes (not too close though.. a few feet away) and a little away from trees (so you don't get squirrels in the feeders), and they'll leave your barn alone, and you can enjoy the birds in the backyard.
Oh, if it were only that easy.....
Aside from the heated birdbath I have all of the above in my yard - feeders (tube, platform, thistle sock & suet), nearby bushes, squirrel-free feeding (although I did once see a chipmunk in my platform feeder:)). There's also a water feature open all Summer that gets used as a drinking fountain and bath.
All are heavily used by robins, redwing blackbirds, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers and the occasional dove.
The Barn Birds are apparently a separate population from the House Birds.
I may set up some feeders closer to the barn this Summer and see if that works. Of course that means I'll have to keep those filled in the Winter.
Oh joy, more work :(
Jan. 23, 2009, 06:57 AM
Well this isn't going to be popular, but if they are the common house sparrow, I would work on getting rid of them, period. They are an aggressive species that eats primarily grain and seeds (that's why they're in your barn), not bugs, and they are murderous to songbirds, especially bluebirds and tree swallows. They will kill a bluebird sitting on her nest, build the nest on top of her corpse and then lay eggs. If you catch them building a nest and keep removing it, they go on murderous rampage and kill everything in sight in order to take over nesting spots. I've lost many many broods of bluebirds and tree swallows to this aggressive, non-native species. Plus, they make a mess, they shred the poo piles looking for grain and spread it all over the place. Disgusting creatures, I certainly wouldn't be making them welcome.
ETA, when the sparrows are in residence, the barn swallows are not, and those are the kind of birds you should be attracting to your barn, they DO eat bugs, and they are becoming endangered because of poison being used in their winter homes in South America. The second Saturday in May, without fail, our barn swallows swoop in for the summer, and they are delightful to have around.
Jan. 23, 2009, 01:16 PM
I knew the sparrows aren't native, but they sure are populous!
Now I am wondering if I wrongly blamed starlings (who also visit my barn) for chasing off the barn swallows who had nested in my rafters.
They were happily swooping on me & barncat for a month or so, and then one morning they were gone :(
I found a dead unfledged nestling on the barn floor that seemed too big for the swallows so my 2nd thought was perhaps a cowbird had laid in the nest and the swallows had kicked out the changeling then vacated the nest.
I do find poop piles trashed - I was worried about diarrhea then realized it was birds.
Any suggestions for ridding the barn of birds - specifically the starlings & sparrows.
Any hope of having the swallows return?
Jan. 23, 2009, 07:25 PM
You can try here:
Basically you have to remove their nests, or better yet, stick a pin in the eggs and scramble them,so by the time they have realized they're sitting on duds, they other songbirds have fledged safely. In a barn, you'd have to be able to get to their nest sites, or somehow prevent them from nesting. Trapping and killing is a more direct route, maybe there are exterminators who can sweep in and do it, I'm not sure.