Wednesday, 22 August 2012

War on Squirrels and Jays

Having posted on how well the codling moth traps were working, I can't say the same of the squirrel trapping. We have had a huge influx of squirrels this year, and one in particular seems impossible to trap. They have just stripped the Denniston's of its small crop completely and are randomly biting into our small crops of apples and pears. I trapped one last week, thinking at least that only left one hard nut to crack, but I'm blowed if another two didn't appear almost immediately. 

In addition to crows this year jays have done an extraordinary amount of damage. I'd been wondering what had been hacking lumps out of my Grenadier, and then moved on to the Worcester and my un-named early red. I'd been thinking it must be pigeons but then I caught a jay actually doing it shamelessly right in front of me. We have a very active extended family of jays which are continually attracted to the area by a neighbour who tips peanuts into his garden as if they were garden mulch, one reason for the influx and high breeding numbers of squirrels. 

I hope the jays may be a temporary problem. They haven't been a problem before, and I think they initially started pecking at the fruit because of scab-related soft patches on the fruit. Having started off with these, they then discovered that the rest of the fruit was palatable. I hope they don't remember next year, but they are bright corvids and they do have a remarkable capacity to remember and teach others of their kind. If they don't forget, then sadly we'll be getting towards the stage of having to net everything soon.

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