My barn has a lot of windows, they provide great lighting and a way for the breeze to pass through. Unless the weather is really bad, the windows remain open. But I’m wondering if I need to close them. Last spring several birds used the windows to fly in and out of the barn, make nests and raise their families. I saw Bluebirds, I think one of the others was a Brown Wren, even a Robin made a nest in the rafters. Word must have gotten out because this year, they’ve all returned and brought their friends. Nearly every rafter is home to someone’s nest but its the droppings that I worry about. The barn aisle needs to be cleaned off every day (large quantities of bird poop are slippery) and some days the birds poop on the horses. I can deal with the mess because I enjoy the birds. But are so many birds in my barn a health concern for my horses?
Daphne du Maurier
Dear Ms. du Maurier
DO NOT CLOSE THE WINDOWS AND DOORS. Lordy. Those birds will get in and get trapped. Gack! The darn things will be flying in a panic, crashing into walls while we’re all trying to sleep. Talk about a health concern, closing up the barn is much worse than the few weeks when the birds move in. Respiratory problems, not to mention how much heat we horses give off. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a sauna, thank you very much. Plus, who’s going to eat the bugs that come in at the same time as the birds? Now, if you have flocks of the darn things moving in there might be cause for concern, at least for the humans who go slip-sliding down the aisle. Then you need to figure out why so many want to live in your particular barn and I’d say (without looking) that you need to make the barn inhospitable for birds. Recruit yourself a good old fashioned barn owl. In fact, definitely leave the doors and windows open in that case since any owl worth her salt will see a menu opportunity. It’ll be just like a flashing Denny’s sign. All you can eat.