One thing we'd like to avoid this Summer is a repeat of the Swallows Episode from last year. Last Summer, after 17 years when they could have done the same thing (but declined), swallows eventually built a nest in our woodshed and - though I wish the little chaps no harm - they were a nuisance. They made a terrible mess. When starting their nest-building project, they appear to have thrown mud and crap all over the place, and the eventual nest was where it happened to stick best. Also, once the laying and brooding bit started, it was a problem to avoid disturbing them, and we had to clear the woodshed and put plastic sheeting down to limit the medieval squalor.
This is not so handy; we keep garden furniture in there, and some tools, and all the bins and tubs for the bird feed (which are, as they say, legion); we had to shift all that lot into the garage, so it didn't get pebbledashed - and then there was the small matter of having a load of firewood delivered during the Summer, so it could dry nicely for the year-end, and - another thing - last year the stupid beggars put their nest on top of an electric light, so we had to use a flashlight to avoid frying their eggs.
Once they had gone we disposed of the nest (which was a wreck anyway) and cleaned up thoroughly. Actually I'm not sure whether it's legal to get rid of the old nest - well, it's gone. This year we'll try to avoid a repeat. Rhetorical questions: do a pair of swallows come back to the same nest? - is there, in fact, such a thing as a pair of swallows to come back to the same nest? - could another pair somehow find (or hear about) last year's nest?.....
Whatever, we'll try to discourage them gently. We have a hot tip that one way to keep swallows away is to equip your shed with [wait for it]...
...a FAKE OWL.
You buy a fake owl, and put it near the potential nesting site, and the swallows will express their disappointment, fleetingly (which is how they do everything, of course), and will then go and happily build a lovely nest somewhere else, where they can make as much mess as they want. You may well have a fake owl in your garden already, but here are some examples of what you can get.
|Owlternative No.1 - this one's head turns in the wind - how awesome is that?|
|No.2 - this is a long-eared owl, and the swallows may knock on our door to |
explain that these don't live around here
|No.3 - very scary - this one is supposed to flutter on the top of a pole|
|People will always try to discredit a good idea |
- just a minute - isn't that No.2...?
Real Life has been getting a bit much of late. We could certainly cope with swallows as well, but we'd rather they didn't bother.
|Max Foy visits the lighthouse|