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Fake peregrine deters human, but not furry and feathered creatures

Fake falcon fools the human. Feathered and furry creatures are undeterred. © Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

My neighbors’ dog goes berserk at the site of squirrels, including the one that lives in a nest in their back yard tree.

In the hopes of deterring the squirrels, they mounted a fake peregrine falcon on the fence between our back yards. I noticed the falcon when standing at my kitchen sink. I had seen a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in my neighborhood before, so I was excited.

I grabbed my camera and started snapping away. As I walked out of the front door to sneak around to the back fence, I mentioned to the neighbor that I thought there was a peregrine on the fence. He laughed and told me it was fake, installed in the hopes of keeping his dog calm.

The peregrine was mounted about 4 feet from the feeders for my birds, so I was worried it would deter their visits. I was pretty sure the fake peregrine would not deter the squirrels, which are very smart, creative creatures that are a No. 1 problem solver when it comes to getting food.

Standing by the kitchen sink about 10 days later, I watched a squirrel gingerly traipse along the top of the fence to within about 2 feet of the fake falcon. It walked up a nearby branch, back down the branch to the fence, scaled the fence to other side of the plastic bird, then on its way.

Fortunately, the birds became accustomed to the fake falcon and back to the feeders and so are the squirrels. I haven’t heard a report on how the dog is doing.

Spring Garden Clinic

The 19th annual Marion County Master Gardener Spring Garden Clinicwill be Saturday, Feb. 9 at St. Luke Methodist Church.