UPDATE AT END: How to relocate/discourage/repel Garter snake from a small area?
Namely, the bush that the cardinals made a next in right outside my kitchen window. If I have to go outside one more time to remove the snake from the bush or scare it away I'm going to scream.
There are 3 eggs and so far the snake hasn't eaten any. I keep checking and there are still 3, and mama comes back after I scare the snake away and then go back in the house. I figured the snake was after the eggs, but I watched him in the nest once, and he nosed the eggs around and then curled up on top of them! WTF!!
Last edited by Ruth0552; Jun. 10, 2013 at 03:26 PM.
I don't think the garter snake CAN eat the eggs - I guess it depends on how big he, I guess. It sounds like he has a secret longing since he did not get to evolve into a bird like his ancient cousins did, LOL! Perhaps it's the nanny?
I checked out the snake link- definitely a garter snake. The nest isn't in a tree, it's in a bush- only a couple feet off the ground.
I don't want to kill him. I don't think he wants to eat the eggs either- he just chilling in the nest! At one point I thought maybe he wanted to eat mama, but she's been around, tweeting at him, and he hasn't tried to eat her.
I actually had a Robin make a nest in that bush several years ago and they did have babies. Unfortunately, a snake, I swear it is the same one, at one of them before I realized what was happening. Not as concerned about a Robin honestly, but now I have Cardinals!
Looks like you've got a case of natural selection on your hands. Painful to watch, no doubt, but a useful reminder of the indifference of the cosmos, both to human preferences of one bird over another, and to the birds themselves.
Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life
I know you checked but can it really be a garter snake? Did not know they could climb. While I am generally on Team Garter Snake I too would find it hard to just do nothing. What about putting moth balls around the base of the bush?
A garter snake can certainly climb a low bush -- he's just not going to scale tree trunks. Although it is sad for us to see a baby bird be eaten, think of it this way: snakey makes babies (really cute ones!) too and needs nourishment and energy to stay alive and keep being neat. I have never seen one napping on eggs though, perhaps he is stealing a bit of warmth -- in June though, one would think he could find a sunny spot here and there!
Cardinals are also heinously common, so he's not snatching up, like, baby whooping cranes. All the same, native wildlife eating native wildlife is fine. This is exactly why these birds have multiple babies -- the lucky and the clever make it to saavy adulthood.
We have lots of garter snakes in our garden. One has taken up residence by our pond and been there I think for three years. He swims, he climbs into the juniper bush, he suns on the rocks surrounding the pond and has a nice little habitat. He is really long - perhaps 3'. Last summer I heard this gawd-awful shrieking enough to curdle the blood. Ran over and he had a fairly large frog by the back leg. Nature doing what Nature does, until I intervene. I reached down and he let the frog go and it leapt away, I hope not any the worse for wear.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique
First off - it wasn't a Garter Snake (they come in MANY different color patterns - not just "striped"). They are strictly fish, amphibian, & insect eaters - no warm-blooded animals (or eggs). And they're groundwelling - don't care for trees/shrubs.
However, any member of the Rat Snake clan (which also come in many different color patterns) happily climb, & even more happily eat both eggs &/or nestlings, which is most likely what happened in this case. It's doubtful the parents will return - in my experience birds won't reuse a nest for a new clutch once it's been tainted by a predator.