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bird roost/ free fertilizer

 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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I have been wondering if something like this would be a benefit to the garden if positioned above a planting bed for the winter.  A bird roost, the bottom open with rods or wires underneath that the birds could roost on at night and their poop would fall on the bed all winter.    G
bird roost.png
[Thumbnail for bird roost.png]
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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In certain situations I think this would be a great passive-poo system addition.  In theory it would work, but it brings up the issue of value in my mind.

For instance, is the project cost and labor going to be worth the - number of birds using the housing, amount of droppings and added value of manure.  Basically, can you get enough birds to consistently use it to justify building it?  And what about cats....what if a cat begins to notice this collection of birds would it then hang out at the base and scare the birds away for good?

I have so many trees and such solitary birds (robins, blue jays, etc.) I know if I built it they would not come in numbers to add enough droppings to matter.  I assume you have large flocks birds, as seen on telephone wires, for this to work where your garden is.

In some situations it would be more beneficial, at about the same cost, just to move - rabbits, ducks or such into the garden over the winter.  Caged or contained animals would be more predictable for adding manure. 

But I really like this idea for pests.... I wonder what bird I could provide housing/roosting for that would eat ants and aphids 
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
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a similiar method is used to create bird habitat. the idea is the birds eat, the seeds of what they eat pass through into the poo and germinate. all you have to do to create a birdie attracting patch is give them a place to sit for a rest and eventually you will have a whole slew of plants that attract even more birds. there would be some value to the poo as far as fertilizer goes but I think that would pretty much be canceled out by the things they planted there unless you take away their natural plantings (and future food). nature already has this one in a nice little closed system.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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The structure you show reminds me a bit of a kozolec:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kozolec

I'm not sure every variety of bird would be happy living so densely, but bats seem to. They also don't drop seeds, or mess with plants as much.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
The structure you show reminds me a bit of a kozolec:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kozolec

I'm not sure every variety of bird would be happy living so densely, but bats seem to. They also don't drop seeds, or mess with plants as much.


Those are nice, appealing structures.  Gives  me more ideas.

My thought would be to take it down during the growing season and allow the birds to disperse.

I have totally mulched my beds with rice straw for the winter and want to try a no-till garden next year, so hopefully any added seeds from the birds won't be too difficult.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I have read in many books about bird fertilizer on wires or posts in the garden..and that the "edges" that have a fencing or wire or post structures in those edges..that birds using them as roosts will bring more fertilizer into the areas..which means that edges are in that way more fertile than the surrounding areas..but also..edges gather materials blown in by the wind and settled in by flooding or rains, as edges "gather" materials..as well as pick up the fertilizers from perches.

you don't have to build any fancy set ups for this..just suspend a fairly decent wire or cord over the area or build yourself a fence..and critters will use it..birds, squirrels, etc..and they will deposit only poop but also the shells of their food seeds or nuts as they perch there to eat.

i have done a fairly significant study of this and have thus attempted to install more and more edges in the property..

an edge can be any point of change..the edge of a woods, a lawn, a garden edging, a pond edge, a field edge, a fence, the side of a building, a roadway ditch..etc..edges are the most useful parts of your property to gather materials to grow things in..i have tried to multiply my edges..in every way possible
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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It sounds like a cord strung across the field would be worthwhile, then? Maybe with some twig teepees for support if it isn't strong enough to span the whole length?

In the vein of "deep wisdom," there is an old Biblical prohibition against harvesting right to the edges of one's property. It's justified in the text in terms of leaving gleanings that might feed travelers, foreigners, and the poor, but I wonder if it makes for a more prosperous farm due to the birds etc. it brings in. I guess birds count as travelers, and have a low income...they certainly seem alien when you look them in the eye!

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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most of my "edges" aren't really at the edge of my property lines..my west side fence IS, but all my other edges are actually set back from the property line excepting the ditches and road edges..

our property on the west is a partially open field all the way to  the road with spotty evergreen and alder trees, this is all completely used by the deer and other wildlife..we do not plant it for crops..and our entire north 4 to 5 acres is a swampy woods that we also use very little for crops at this time, however we do have some seeded apple trees and nut tree seedling in the woods and some wild berries and mushrooms that grow there now.

part of the woods closer to our house will be planted as we are able to get to it..still only 7 years since our housefire we are still reestablishing closer to the house at this time, but the plan is to be planting more and more into the woods as we are able, to diversify it and add more cropping plants for ourselves and for the wildlife.

actually most of our actual cropping is in the 3 to 4 acres directly around our home and in the rear..out of the 10 acres us and our son have as property, and about 1 acre of that is a pond.

as far as allowing those less fortunate to glean from our property, that has been a habit of ours over our entire lifetime, we have always shared our food stuffs and other crops such as perennials and others with every one we could..


this is looking south  toward our road in our front yard.

here i'm standing on our back porch, looking back toward our drainfield garden and the woods beyond..that woods goes back nearly 1/4 mile.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Beautiful photos, and is that "white moss" that is covering everything?  How deep will it get ?
 
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