Bye Bye Birdies

The Battle of the Wild Birds

I’ve said a million times that winter is the best time to catch up on all the repairs and upgrades on the ranch.  Here in Phoenix the temperatures are in the mid seventies this time of year, that’s certainly better than 110!  So, last Sunday I scratched off a nasty chore on my list that’s been hounding me for months. One that I won’t soon forget either.  It took this long to get over my anger, and finally laugh about it.

This year I took on a project that was nothing short of a nightmare. Aviary netting, what a royal pain in the butt that is to handle! My constant fight against the wild birds eating my chicken feed finally got the best of me.  They were consuming seven pounds a day, and this meant war!   But I’m honestly not sure which fight was worse, the problem or the solution.

It took seven hours to do the job, two of them were probably spent trying to fight myself out of a tangled mess.  Aviary netting also proved to be a really handy way to turn my hair into a rats nest. Good to know, for that special sought after look at special occasions.

I might mention that if you step on aviary netting, it sticks to your shoes, with this really cool way of binding your ankles together. Numerous times I was a prisoner of war, a hostage, in the grips of this evil material. But every cowgirl knows to never leave the house without a knife,  so there I was…  jack the ripper.

If I thought my neighbors had a sense of humor I’d hung that stuff naked. Every button, rivet, and seam was the culprit of a tangled disaster. Speaking of disaster, earrings were an extremely poor choice of accessories that day. It’s just amazing how light aviary netting is, did you know you can have 40ft of it hanging from your ear and hardly know its there?

There is one thing, the only thing, that aviary netting does not stick to… itself. Therefore, zip-ties were the fastener of choice. The packaging failed to mention that these were terrific little buggers if you’re looking to rip your fingers to shreds. Maybe it was a sales tactic assuring the future sales of  the zip-tie fastener tool.  What? there’s a tool?

I was completely frustrated during all these unexpected challenges.  Partly because I couldn’t help thinking it might not even work. Birds, especially sparrows, can fit through an opening the size of a quarter. The margin of success was grim and my confidence began to shrivel, so I started drinking Rum.

Nine billion zip ties later, the aviary netting was affixed to the fenced enclosure that houses a few of my select chickens. Now, to seek out and close every single nook and cranny.  My incentive was overhead, where literally  hundreds of birds watched from the above power lines, just waiting for their chance to make a fool out of me. A few doves perched their engorged with chicken feed and too fat to fly bodies on a tree root a few feet away. I was comforted by their presence knowing at the very least, my efforts would indeed deny them from feasting here again.

It was dusk, and I was finally done. I put bricks around the entire enclosure, just in case my chickens dug holes around the base allowing the sparrows an entry.  I had a headache from the rum, my fingers were like raw hamburger, and my legs felt like a wet dish rag, but there was one last thing to do.  I filled the chicken feeder, dragged my ass to the house, and hoped tomorrow morning  I wouldn’t have to fight my way through an explosion of sparrows fleeing my chicken feeder.

Monday Morning 6:30 AM

I crawled out of bed and felt like I’d been run over by a truck, every muscle in my body was screaming from the torture of excessive work.  A price worth paying I thought, providing I didn’t see those damn sparrows devouring my paycheck.  The coffee was still brewing,  I was savoring the moment of thinking my battle of the birds was won, either that, or putting off the pain of defeat.

The sun peered from the mountain top and it was time to face my fate.  I approached the side of the house and peeked around the corner taking a glimpse of the chicken enclosure.  There was a chill in the air but all I felt was that warm and fuzzy feeling of a job well done.  Not one bird in sight, no sparrows, doves, or pigeons!  VICTORY!

amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch

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About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm. Raises laying hens.
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13 Responses to Bye Bye Birdies

  1. Cindi says:

    Too funny!!!! Glad it paid off and you can laugh it off and now I know why I have an influx of pigeons devouring our bird food.

  2. tbnranch says:

    Cool! That’s what its all about! Thanks.

  3. Bassas Blog says:

    Great post. I never thought I would be so interested in aviary netting but you made it sound so entertaining 🙂

  4. Yeah to your victory!

  5. Chancy, Mumsy and Crew says:

    Oh, I am sorry but I could not keep from giggling as I read this. The way you told of your experience was just impossible for me to read and not chuckle. I know it wasn’t funny to you as it was all unfolding though. What a great sense of humor you have and a wonderful writing ability. Bravo!!! A job well done with putting up the netting and writing about it. Hugs

  6. Bongo says:

    I can see the tangled mess of you and the netting – and then the victory of a job well done. Great story.

  7. I can just see you doing this and its hysterical. 😀 I love how your wrote about this . . . your sense of humor is priceless.

  8. Rita A. says:

    Congratulations.
    Great Writing too

Comments are closed.