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So I set up my cemetery and within a day or two I noticed the top of some tombstones looked a little crumbly. After another day I realized something is EATING THEM!!! A lot of them. at least six are pretty well gnawed/pecked at. It is just on the tops so I'm assuming its birds. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas one how to stop it?
 

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They're not eating it, they're probably using it as nesting material. They will pick at any areas that are open. Seal it with some latex paint, that might be your best bet.
 

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Make a solution with cayenne pepper and spray on it? Popular solution for plants but I would think it would just run down the tombstone. Maybe more of a baking soda cayenne pepper paste to keep it on there?

You have an interesting problem there. I interested to see what people say.

Wind is my archenemy.
 

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Using it for a nest makes sense but the pieces crumble off so I can't see it being a good building material. At least in theory that should mean they'll stop when the nest is done.
 

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Okay jackrum, just to clarify: you're not living in some German forest, in a gingerbread house are you?
If so, it's those darn kids. Just catch them, fatten up the boy, and he'll make a wonderful meal.
Oh, and get some glasses before checking how plump he's becoming...I get the feeling that if you go by feel, you may end up being well done.
 

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Well, I don't think there are any species of birds nesting in Jersey at this time of year. It could possibly be woodpeckers, they look for bugs in whatever they can peck away at. They are also looking for possible new "homes" for the winter. Cayenne pepper won't work for birds, they have no sense of smell.
 

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Well, I don't think there are any species of birds nesting in Jersey at this time of year. It could possibly be woodpeckers, they look for bugs in whatever they can peck away at. They are also looking for possible new "homes" for the winter. Cayenne pepper won't work for birds, they have no sense of smell.

While it is true that cayenne pepper will not affect birds. It's not because they have no sense of smell, birds actually have excellent olfactory receptors. Peppers effect creatures that have molars, which when eating the plant, destroys the seeds. Birds are unaffected by capsaicin (the stuff that makes hot peppers hot) swallow seeds whole and disperse them elsewhere.
 

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While it is true that cayenne pepper will not affect birds. It's not because they have no sense of smell, birds actually have excellent olfactory receptors.
Well that's debatable depending on what information you read. Some sources claim birds have a great sense of smell, some claim it's very poor, and some claim it depends on the species. For instance, large owls are one of the few predators that a skunk needs to fear as they will eat them. While no one can say for sure, my guess is that their sense of smell must be pretty close to non-existent to dine on a skunk.:p
 
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OH I believe the birds doing the damage theory. I have a number of those foam plant pots one had some of the rim broken off... the dang chickens sat there one afternoon eating the rest of the rim. That was my first warning chickens like foam. Next was to insulate their coop I used cut up discarded garage doors, they had metal skins and foam inside, took us a awhile to notice they had perk out AND eaten as much foam as their little beaks could reach a good 2 inches or more at the corners. Had to put wood strips to keep them from eating the exposed sides they hadn't found yet. While free roaming they found an old shipping cooler from the days when my mom had drugs sent to her we used to cover the outside faucet in winter... Yes you guessed it they ate a good bit of it before I found what they had been up too, looked like a chuck of swiss cheese. They keep finding ways into the Halloween prop storeage shed and anything made of Great Stuff foam is easy pickings for them. If it's painted doesn't matter they eat it paint and all. I can't imagine why, can't be very tasty. They get plenty of grain and scratch so they aren't starving, they get to free roam all afternoon so there is plenty of enrichments for them in the form of bugs, plants and worms to eat and trees to climb up into... it's like foam is a treat for them and when they find it they just have to eat it all up... It's terrible when one needs to fence in the Halloween props from predator chickens.

As a side note... one year left my Audry plants made of paper mache in the outdoor shed thinking they'd be safe there... being painted and then coated to make them water resistant. Come spring I found that the rodent population had enjoyed the paper part and left the styrofoam balls I used under the paper mache mostly alone, there was some nibbling but not much. So while my chickens love foam apparently my local rodents don't.
 

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Well that's debatable depending on what information you read. Some sources claim birds have a great sense of smell, some claim it's very poor, and some claim it depends on the species. For instance, large owls are one of the few predators that a skunk needs to fear as they will eat them. While no one can say for sure, my guess is that their sense of smell must be pretty close to non-existent to dine on a skunk.:p
According to Stanford " the apparatus for detecting odors is present in the nasal passages of all birds" and according to University of California physiologist Bernice Wenzel "ultimately demonstrated that even birds with very small olfactory bulbs have the ability to smell". Can you cite any respectable source after 1960 that says that any species of bird has no sense of smell?

Regardless of the sense of smell, which has nothing to do with why pepper paste and other such things won't work to repel birds. It has to do with the birds insensitive receptor cells to capsaicin.
 
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