In the last few years, we have had more and more doves making our neighbourhood their home. For our garden, there is no problems as they don’t help themselves and seem to leave everything alone. They do tend to leave very large poop all over everything, which is not so lovely, but easily washed. What we don’t like about them is the noise. They coo constantly. Unlike other birds, their cooing grates on your nerves after a while, making relaxing in the back yard near impossible. Maybe it is just us, but our neighbours seem to feel the same way about them.
For the first time in a few years, the magpies have started coming around again. When we first moved in, they taunted and teased Ellie, until one day when one wasn’t fast enough and Ellie managed to grab some tail feathers. We haven’t seen them much since. But they are back! And they seem to have taken over the territory from the Doves, which is fantastic in regards to sound. I don’t mind the sound of magpies, especially mixed with finch and other small birds.
The problem that we are now having is with our Strawberries. We had originally thought we had a rodent problem as they tend to make the back area of our yard home for the winter. We have been going to harvest our strawberries, only to find them half eaten. Only the ripe ones, which is good, but still, eat the whole thing, don’t leave half! Anyways, I went down to check on the strawberries the other morning and found a magpie sitting in the strawberries having a snack. Not ok, but at the same time, I don’t want them to leave because I don’t want the doves back.
K and I decided the easiest solution was to build a frame over the tower and add netting. This will help keep the magpies out, but they will still stick around to keep the doves away. This will be the last year that we will be using the strawberry tower, so we did a very quick job, using some of our old tomato tower wood. K got out in the shop with me and helped build this quick netting system to save our delicious berries.
We did some quick measurements, and cut all the 1″ x 2″ boards to the sizes that we needed. We started with the posts that we were attaching to the actual tower. We left the doors for the last part. We wanted to be able to bend over and into the netting easily, so we made it all 4′ tall.
Once all of the up-rights were in place, we added a few bracing pieces along the top, framing it in. Once that was done, we put together the doors and started adding the netting. We made sure to put the netting on the doors first, before mounting them, for easier stapling.
The end product has worked great. We have gotten back to harvesting, and it looks like we are going to have a lot of berries coming off in the next week. Most will be frozen to make some batches of jam in the fall, but some will be kept for snacking and breakfast!
It is not the prettiest as it is only for this season, but it was a quick build with great results. When we move the strawberries to the other side of the yard next year, we will build a proper, permanent netting over it.