Simple mistakes, dire consequences

It is with a sad irony that I link to a blog post entitled “Sweet surprises and possible massacres.”

A couple of years ago, I put bird netting against my back fence to provide a light trellis for sweet pea to grow against. I was careful to keep the netting against the fence so that hummingbirds would not accidentally fly through it and get caught. I’d been warned about this. However, hummingbirds were unlikely to  to fly into a solid wooden fence.

The sweet peas blossomed beautifully and reseeded for this year. I left the netting up without incident. Again, I had a hedgerow of blossom this spring. When they died back I removed the dead plants and left the netting up.

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the raised beds when I noticed that some critter had up-chucked in one of the beds. It was a vile combination of goop and bones. I figured it was an owl regurgitate pellet. And cleaned it up.

As I moved through the garden, doing my daily harvest sweep, I spotted what looked like a lizard tail between one of the beds and the fence. It must have been a pretty big lizard, I thought at the time because the section of tail was about 5 inches long.

As I scanned towards the fence, I stared in horror at what I found there. About a foot off the ground, tangled impossibly in the netting, hung the remains of a gopher snake, very dead and half eaten.The snake looked like it had been shedding its skin, and I figure this is what first caught on the netting.

I was distraught. This poor snake had died because of something I had done, some garden practice I employed. I really did beat myself up over this and fully deserved the beating too. I cut the poor thing down and took down all the netting. In future, it is only going to be used for protecting seedlings, for the shortest possible time and with great care.

Doubly ironic is the fact that my last post was about all the wildlife my native garden was attracting!

It took me a long time to get around to writing this post. I have not included photos on purpose. It’s a sad and sorry post, but it has a function… It acts as a warning…

If you do use bird netting in your garden be very careful with it.

Byddi Lee

9 replies to Simple mistakes, dire consequences

  1. Don't beat yourself up about it Byddi. It was an honest mistake. We learn from these things. You will do better next time. Valerie

  2. I've made the same mistake and had to clean up a miserable mess one morning before work. I only use netting in one spot on my front porch and it's completely covered with clematis vines, which keeps the birds safe. Live and learn. :o)

  3. I've been hearing lots of such stories. I wonder if there are "safer" times of the year form reptiles, when it is cooler. And make the netting more visible for birds?

  4. Aw, that's really sad, but it was an honest mistake. Hope you are well xx

  5. Thanks Barri

    And yes, those of us who are not reptiles are doing great! Including the squirrels who are stealing plums and eating them on our back door step and leaving a mess – we think it's a protest at the almond tree still being out of bounds for them!

  6. I feel your pain – we've probably all done something like this. I bought netting, to protect seedlings, then never took it out of its wrap because I was afraid of mishaps. I won't sadden you with my mishaps! We all have to forgive ourselves. We're just doing the best we can. I'll go look at your last post now 🙂

  7. Hi Byddi, i haven't been here for a while, to be sure i already followed. I don't know how a gopher snake looks like, it might not be poisonous because you cared for it that much! But at least you didn't really intended it to be killed. I once posted a long snake electrocuted with our street wires in the property. We saw it already charred so we can't see what kind it was! regards.

  8. Thanks for dropping by Andrea. Gopher snakes are not poisonous and are good guys to have in the yard as they eat troublesome rodents – like gophers!

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