Q: I have 4 ferns hanging on my front porch that all have bird’s nests in them. When the ferns die and get thrown away what can I do with the bird’s nests?
A: It’s not legal to possess bird nests of migratory birds without a special license, so the best course is to toss the nests with the ferns. Nests of non-protected birds, like pigeons, sparrows and starlings, can be displayed after being frozen for a week to eliminate bird mites.
To prevent birds nesting there in the future, install a prickly deterrent. One gardener puts10 to 15 toothpicks in a circular pattern in each of the baskets. The birds come and check out the baskets, get a poke from the toothpicks and move on. Another advises piling sweetgum balls around the base of the ferns.