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Bushtit family on an outing

Baby bushtit (left) and its parent

Yesterday as I stopped to look out our front door I saw three bushtits hopping around in the lemon tree. Suddenly one stopped and opened its beak. Immediately one of the other bushtits fed the one with the open beak, I assume with insects they were finding on the tree branches.

I was so excited to witness this because it means that at least one pair of bushtits in the garden was successful with their nesting endeavors, and now were taking their fledgling out to forage for insects. As you can see in the photo above, the fledgling is almost larger than the parent!

Bushtits are so adorable because they are very small and round and fluffy.

This brings me to another issue - trying to protect the birds from harm.

There is a new cat in the neighborhood who, naturally, visits our garden a lot. I love cats, and our cat Georges, like all the other cats we've had before him, is strictly an indoor cat. We have a lot of windows in the house, so he is never bored, observing all of what goes on outside.

Over the years that we've lived in this house, I've seen other cats come through the garden, sometimes taking naps under bushes during the day. The new cat that visits the garden is a hunter and is always looking out for prey.

A few days ago I saw it suddenly leap up from the ground onto the lowest large limb of the fig tree, intent on catching a bird. Now this presented a new problem we never had to deal with because no other cats had jumped into the tree!

I immediately looked up remedies to prevent cats climbing into trees, and this looked like the easiest and practical solution: wrap aluminum foil around the tree! Cats don't like the feel of this surface, so it should discourage the cat from climbing. Obviously the aluminum foil will start to tear with time, but it should last long enough to serve this purpose. It won't hurt the tree, and this is just for a few months.

Yes, this looks weird, but if it works, that's what matters.

I wrapped the lower part of the fig tree limbs with aluminum foil. The foil is kept in place by gardening ties (comes on a roll from any hardware or nursery store) and cut off legs from old tights (they stretch very nicely, yet remain soft).

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