Curse of bougainvillea

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THE ABOVE SHOWS just a small portion of the fallen bougainvillea leaves I must remove on a regular basis. My patience is running short.

More than 15 years back I planted many things in our yard that I have grown mightily to regret. The nopal tree, now gone. Two pear trees, gone. Peach tree, gone. There are only two major nuisances left, the bougainvillea and a very large loquat.

Just this week, I noticed that a freaking, nasty pigeon is nesting deep in the bougainvillea, no doubt producing more of those large pests. I would remove the nest if I could see it or reach it, but the plant is so thick, that’s next to impossible.

I see her dive in there and disappear. Then there are maternal clucking sounds! If  I’m walking along our sidewalk, and she’s gliding toward the hidden nest, she abruptly detours on spotting me. She thinks I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sharper than a pigeon.

The damnable pigeon occasionally sits and craps atop the steel superstructure where our upstairs terraza dome will be installed. (Glass is en route, by the way.) Pigeons are a relatively new element in my hardscrabble barrio. I only noticed the first one about a year ago, and now they’re making themselves at home.

If I only possessed a shotgun!

The large plaza downtown is overrun with pigeons now, and people feed them! Welcome! They roost in the attics of the old Colonial buildings surrounding the plaza, making a horrible mess. We wrote a letter to the mayor a few years back, suggesting he put signs on the plaza forbidding the feeding of pigeons.

He ignored us, and the pigeon population continues to swell.

On a positive note, the days now consist of blue skies and cool-enough temperatures. Not only are bougainvillea blooming all over town, but spectacular jacaranda trees too.

And the first flower of our golden datura appeared by the Alamo Wall this week.

Other current events: At this moment, just after High Noon, the folks who live in the hovel out back are blaring music to one and all. Luckily, that side of the Hacienda has no windows save a small one in the upstairs bathroom, so the noise is not a problem.

This afternoon we’ll be lunching at a health-food joint by the docks. Haven’t been there in many a month. Should arrive about 2 p.m. Come join us if you like. Dutch Treat, of course. We’re fixed-income pensioners.

Then later we’ll drive downtown for a stroll around the Semana Santa market that covers the plaza. Some interesting things on sale, but the Day of the Dead market is superior.

* * * *

Note: The horror story I mentioned about a week ago likely will appear here on Saturday. I’ve emerged from the grim tale intact. Stay tuned, as they say.

38 thoughts on “Curse of bougainvillea

  1. I was charmed by a bougainvillea last year that had a shade of red leaves where the flowers bloom. It was a big plant when bought and having nursed it through some very cold temps in winter it shows promise this season. I don’t think it’s destined to be a giant but I hope it will thrive. It, along with a peach double bloom hibiscus and a pink bougainvillea, is behind a low rock wall border. I deem all of that to be stunning to look at as time goes on.

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    1. Carole: Bougainvillea is beautiful, no question. It also — at least down here where I am — never appears to stop growing, and it tosses blooms all over the place, which can be quite a nuisance if you’re in charge of cleanup. I actually have four bougainvilleas, but I keep the other three under control. The biggie got away from me before I fully understood what I was up against.

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  2. Felipe: My heart goes out to you. I planted a red bouganvillea against a wall at our condo in Puerto Escondido. It grew well. So well that my gringo neighbor dug it up and took it when he moved. It was worth it to have him leave, the accordian-playing dork. They are beautiful, and make good guard plants.

    Pigeons are vermin. My neighbor used to feed them, along with crows and gulls, until everyone told her she was also attracting rats by piling mounds of birdseed on the lawn. She claimed on Facebook that she was being harassed.

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    1. Kris: Accordian-playing dork. I suggest that may be redundant. Maybe not if you’re Eye-talian.

      It gets my dander up downtown when I see people feeding the pigeons. Jeez.

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  3. It was most likely just as well that the mayor ignored your letter. Signs seem to evoke the juvenile in the public. “No feeding pigeons?” Start scooping out the bread crumbs. “No photos?” Flash. Flash. Flash. “No parking?” Just watch me, buddy. You’re not my mom.

    Perhaps you could buy space at one of the plaza booths and open up a skeet range. And then discard the clay in favor of the real pigeons. Of course, put up a sign: “Don’t shoot the pigeons.”

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    1. Señor Cotton: Police enforcement of the no-pigeon-feeding rule would be required, at least at first.

      As for the signs, I think most people would pay attention. But we’ll never know, it seems.

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      1. Felipe: Make your own signs! Officialdom won’t notice. Of course you could always tell he restaurateurs that in haute cusine they’re called squab. Eat them I say, but I won’t.

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        1. Kris: Officialdom would notice. And if I put up the signs in the dead of night, they would be removed. Sad.

          As for squab, I never realized they were pigeons, actually young pigeons from what I just read. Usually.

          And you led me to the online dictionary where I learned a new word: squabash.

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    1. Ricardo: Bougainvilleas do not have to be tended here at all. I do absolutely nothing with the four I have. I don’t fertilize them. I don’t water them during the dry season. I do squat, hoping they’ll die. But they don’t. At least I’m keeping three of the four under control.

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    1. Judy: The nest is in there, but up kinda high, and the dang plant is incredibly dense. I wish I had a shotgun.

      As for squab pie, I don’t think so, but thanks for the suggestion.

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  4. Birds of prey, such as the falcon or hawk would take care of the pigeon problem pronto. All city council would have to do is hire a licensed falconer to sic his birds on them. Problem solved with repeated doses.

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  5. Kill the tree. Sweeping up wheelbarrow loads of beautiful blooms is more than one man should endure.

    Concerning pigeons, there is an enterprising fellow from Texas that has a contract with cities like Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans, where he traps these winged rats (for a hefty fee). He then sells them to organizations who hold “pigeon shoots” as fundraisers. By shoots, I mean shooters are stationed around a large field and the birds are released four at a time, kind of like dove or duck hunting.

    There is a fellow in Chicago who has made it his life’s work to stop these shoots. He uses drones to capture footage, then threatens to release the footage of shooting these “innocent birds” to the media (as a form of blackmail). He did this to a Congressman in Oklahoma, quite successfully. His rationale is that if you don’t eat what you shoot it is immoral.

    They are not eaten, of course. Coyotes won’t even eat them.

    I couldn’t make this stuff up…

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    1. Ray: I knew someone would react in that manner! I mean, who could object to a yard full of pretty red flowers, right? Well, they die. They become less pretty. There are gadzillions of them blowing all over the yard and into the downstairs terraza, where I have to sweep them out. It’s more than one should have to endure!

      Winged rats. I like that. Apt. They are not bluebirds. They’re not hummingbirds. They’re not even bluejays. Pigeons are a plague.

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  6. Bougainvillea is a marvelous plant. It thrives on abuse and neglect. It makes sure intruders do not enter your property. It is kind of like those thorn enclosures that Africans make to keep out lions and leopards.

    It is a beautiful plant, but it has just too many thorns for me. The best way to trim it is with someone else’s arms.

    As to the problem of the pigeons, they need to be re-homed to an oven at 356 degrees for about three quarters of an hour. They will be tough and chewy, but there is a certain satisfaction knowing they will not return.

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    1. Señor Gill: It does seem to embrace abuse and neglect. I give all of them that sort of love.

      Someone else’s arms indeed. Yes, I now use the arms of Abel the Deadpan Yardman. I’m gonna have to get him over here sometime soon.

      As far as putting one in the oven, I prefer the shotgun solution. Now, if I only had a shotgun.

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  7. I’m just surprised there is any place without pigeons. At least no place that has people and no pigeons. But wildlife does encroach. We’ve had squirrels, raccoons, and roadrunners move in, whereas we had none of these 20 years ago. Tropical foliage is not a problem yet, but might become so if global warming keeps up.

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    1. Creigh: As mentioned, up till about a year ago I do not recall seeing a pigeon around my house. They’ve been a growing nuisance downtown, especially on the main plaza for a few years. That’s about five miles away. In downtown Guadalajara, they exist in epic proportions, and have for decades.

      Roadrunners? I love roadrunners.

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  8. Feed the pigeons corn meal mixed with plaster of Paris. It sets up in their craw. Or, do as my mother did during the Depression: rat traps baited with whatever there is. Pigeons are not picky. Small fish hooks concealed in bread dough on a fish line tethered down with a nail.
    They are awful to eat, but they get nicer the hungrier you are.

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      1. Yes, it is not easy being evil. These animals are like people, they are gregarious. Get one, and then you have a whole flock. Can you legally own and use a pellet gun in Mexico?

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        1. Señor Gill: I’m not sure about pellet guns. Guns are very tightly controlled down here in spite of the fact that almost everyone seems to have one. So much for gun control. I see pellet guns on sale in Walmart now and then.

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  9. I have what I call my “bird poking stick.” It’s a jerry-rigged affair — two long bamboo poles tied together with twine — because it needs to reach some places on the second floor of our house. Birds like to roost in those places and then poop all over the bricks on the house. Whenever a bird starts hanging around one of these spots, I get out the stick and use it to dislodge the would-be homesteader. You only have to do it a few times before the bird gets the message and moves on. Just get a long stick and poke it around in your bougainvillea a few times a day until the pigeon decides to look for someplace a little more hospitable.

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  10. Felipe, shotgun is overkill, AND messy! Your friends suggestions on a pellet gun are right on! We had issues with the buggers in the roofline in Milpitas, and easily took care of them without alarming the neighbors! These flying rats can be a real hassle, and truly need to be eliminated from your property before they set up a colony. Here in NC the doves are tasty! Hitch yerself over yonder to Walmart, and buy the .17cal solution! Felices, Pascuas!

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    1. Dan: I was being facetious about the shotgun. A Gringo arming oneself here would be a very bad idea. As for getting rid of the pigeon, it may give me an excuse to cut down the entire bougainvillea, which is a nuisance anyway.

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