The Eviction of Phoebe: 2009 Edition

April 10th, 2009

Our story begins in 2007 when Eastern Phoebes chose our porch light as the perfect place to raise a family. Luckily there were no eggs when we found the nest (so I believe); the spouse cleaned it off the porch light and we left the porch ceiling fan running, thinking they wouldn’t like the constant motion. For whatever reason, they didn’t return that year.

Last spring, we turned the porch ceiling fan on before the Phoebes started nesting and they stayed away.

However. A couple of weekends ago, they started to build on the porch light again. Again, the spouse cleaned it off. Again, we turned the ceiling fan on. But this time they came back. I cleared the nest away. They came back. I cleared the nest away. They came back. I cleared the nest away. Clearly the ceiling fan ploy was no longer working. What to do? I had some plastic netting that we used as deer protection on the tomato plants, so I cut a piece of it and wrapped it around the porch light.

You can see a bit of moss stuck in the netting. It looks like they came back with some building materials and were surprised by the barrier.

But they really really like our porch. Opposite the porch light, is a post with a tiny (about 1 inch) ledge on top.

I don’t see how this can work, but apparently they do.

I’ve now cleaned this off 3 or 4 times in the last two days. This afternoon I put a radio on the porch and left it turned on while I was out in the garden. It looked like the mud was drying and they hadn’t been back, but then shortly after 7 PM (during the Latino programming on WTJU) they were working on the nest again.

One way I could keep them from coming back is to stand by the side of the porch with a camera waiting for a good shot. They refused to come by when I was outside and ready with the camera, but they didn’t object to me watching them through the window just as long as I was inside. That’s why the picture above is a bit fuzzy – it was taken through the window and window screen.

So….tomorrow you can find me on the front porch trying to rig up another barrier to their current building site.

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