I looked down through the hole in the hayloft floor that I climbed through just a few minutes before and there was Zip looking up at me. Maybe he thought I was a big pigeon.
I was in the loft to see if I could reach the window the pigeons have been using to get in and out of the barn for the past two years. I’ve been meaning to fix the three broken planes of glass, but never got around to it.
Now six of the 12 lites of glass were broken. Zip started stalking the pigeons after we let him out of the crate. It seems that part of establishing himself as king of the barn, is to rid it of the pigeons who have made it their home since Flo died and Minnie stopped living in the barn last year.
This spring I followed the birth of a pair of pigeons from egg to when they left the nest. But now I want the pigeons out as much as Zip.
Every day they’re crashing through the barn windows, the glass shattered on the ground in the barnyard. Zip has made his presence known and the pigeons are finding their home is not the safe place it used to be.
I found I could easily reach the window in the hayloft with the 8 foot ladder. So I pulled it up through another hole in the barn floor. This one big enough to through hay bale through.
That’s when I saw the two fledgling pigeons huddled together on a bean inside the barn. They looked terrified.
Since Zip came to the farm, their lives have drastically changed. I felt bad for them and tried to let them know I wouldn’t hurt them. I made sure to close the door between the two barns so Zip would have less of a chance of finding them.
Once I was up on the ladder I could see that the window had been cobbled together, two sashes screwed to each other, then held in place with more screws.
It was easy to remove with the right drill bit.
One of the few things left in the basement when we bought the farm was a stack of glass, some still with thin sheets of paper between the lites. So I have plenty of glass even if I made a mistake and cut one too short.
Instead of using glazing, as I usually would, I decided to use caulk. The window is so high no one would see it and it’s quicker and easier to use. First I put a bead of caulk on the lip of the pane, put in the glass and a few glazing points (the little pieces of metal that help hold the glass in) then a thicker bead of caulk.
While I waited for it to dry, I cleaned and fixed a few panes of glass on the window on the bottom floor of the barn that the pigeons also flew through.
Next came the paint. When it was dry, I screwed the window back in the barn. After that I stapled a piece of hardware cloth over the window on the inside of the barn. This way the pigeons couldn’t push the lites of glass out if they tried to fly out of the barn.
But it wasn’t until had lowered the ladder through the hole and put it away, that I worried that the pigeons might try to fly into the barn not realizing there was glass and hardware cloth to stop them.
So I went back up into the loft, pulling the ladder past the fledgling pigeons once again, and put pieces of duct tape on the hardware cloth hoping they would see it as a deterrent.
Ideally, I would have liked to put the tape on the glass as I did on the lower windows, but I don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach the window from the outside of the barn. Also, it was getting dark and I had been working at this for most of the day. I just didn’t have it in me to remove the hardware cloth and put it back again.
Even with the windows blocked off, there are other ways for the pigeons to get in and out of the barn. But they are not hanging around the way they had been. I’m sure they are confused and uncertain if our barn is still a good place for them to raise their young.
This morning as a few pigeons pecked around the barnyard, Zip was on to them. He slipped under the fence and got as far as peeking into the pole barn. He retreated after seeing the barn was full of sheep and donkeys.
I never expected so much turmoil when we brought Zip to the farm. Somehow I didn’t associate the pigeons with not having an active barn cat. But now I can see how Minnie and Flo kept pigeons from nesting in the barn all these years.
Zip is already earning his keep. I loved having the pigeons here this summer. Watching them grow up and learning all about them. But I can see if they continue to nest in the barn, there will be to many of them.
I have a feeling the pigeons will not be here for much longer.