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Re: FW: TB: Cult: Birds (long)

Dear Francelle
    Cayenne pepper works with squirrels but I haven't tried it with birds.

----- Original Message ----
From: Francelle <fjmjedwards@qwest.net>
To: iris@hort.net
Sent: Saturday, March 8, 2008 8:49:16 PM
Subject: [iris] FW: TB: Cult: Birds (long)

For most of my life, and that's a long, long time, I have grown irises
casually in Arizona and never had any trouble with birds.  Then I got
serious about surrounding myself with the best of these beautiful flowers
and helping create more.  Soon after that, birds discovered my irises.  Now
every spring I have to battle these little winged rats.  Usually they prove
smarter than I am.  I have tried everything.  Once I had the iris beds
covered with fiery red streamers.  It took about two weeks for the birds to
find out that they had nothing to do with fire.  A couple of other springs,
I had two dozen metallic children's whirligigs spinning above the stalks.
It was a major operation to put them up, but they helped a little bit.  Then
someone said to put insecticide on the buds.  That damaged the blossoms
almost as much as the birds did.  For three years I used Ropel liquid bird
repellant.  That worked until last year, when I think it must have lost its
strength, and I can't find any more.  The only stalks I saw bloom last March
were those I cut at first sign of color and brought in the house.  This year
I decided that I would just sacrifice my first blooms to experiments as I
try to teach birds that my irises just aren't very good.  I treated some
with insecticide.  A nurseryman told me to try neem oil.  I did, and the
buds I treated were gone the next morning.  Then I got creative and decided
to try liquid smoke from the grocery store.  Maybe birds wouldn't like the
smell of smoke.  I still don't know if that will work or not, but the buds I
treated last night were still there this morning.  I think I will treat them
again, as the odor doesn't last very long.

For early blooming seedlings that I am really determined to see, my husband
has built cages which I have covered with bird net.  However I can't cover
very much of the garden that way.

The two types of birds that I have caught in the act, sitting on top of a
flower, tossing petals right and left to reach the anthers and the style
arms, are Mocking Birds and Aberts Towhees.  The thing which bothers me the
most is that I know many people who grow irises here, and none of them have
this problem.  Why do those birds peck on me?

Francelle Edwards  Glendale, AZ  Zone 9

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