Catbirds As Good Guys and Bad Guys

Catbirds Control Pest Insects

While they eat lots of fruits, catbirds derive nearly half of their diet from protein in the form of insects, caterpillars, and other pests. In fact, caterpillars and grasshoppers alone constitute 3/4 of their protein diet. Because catbirds hang around residential yards all summer, they are an important part of its natural pest control system. This is where they are likely to set up housekeeping and raise their families. They patrol the yard for protein to feed their babies that consume vast quantities of undesirable bugs that inhabit the plantings. They prey upon:

Lunch For Catbirds
AntsColorado potato beetlesMexican bean beetles
Asparagus beetlesCucumber beetlesOther beetles

Catbirds As Pests

While for most of the year, the catbird is a very welcome member of the home ecosystem’s community. However our friendly catbird has a favorite food and that is fruit. Mostly they eat wild fruits and berries, but if you are a food gardener and have strawberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries in your garden, you will soon meet the local catbird. While they will not take all the fruit from your garden, they will take enough to notice and therefore, during that time they are something of a nuisance.

The best way to keep catbirds away from fruit is to grow the berries in closed in cages made of posts and chicken wire; a step that takes initial energy but serves as a barrier for many years. The second best solution is to rig a bird repelling tape over the fruit plants during the time the fruit is ripe. The Tanglefoot Company and the Bird-X Company both make a mylar tape that is effective in deterring the catbird’s enthusiasm for your berries.

If you have only a few bushes and you have some Floating Row Cover or Fleece hanging around, cover the plants with the fleece and secure it at the bottom so the sneaky catbird can't get in thru the back door.

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