Sunday, 29 March 2015

Birds - "our feathered friends" or not???

I am as keen as the next man to live as far as possible in harmony with Nature and to avoid doing harm to other creatures, but recently my patience has been sorely tested. I am under siege by birds!

The other day I planted out my Broad Bean seedlings, but the Pigeons have attacked them, chomping off the growing-points of several plants:

Left one is OK, right one is severely damaged

This is what they should look like.

I see those as baby plants just at the start of their lives. A Pigeon sees them as a tasty morsel for immediate consumption!

Hopefully the plants will survive and will put up some more stems. In fact I know that some people advocate pinching-out Broad Beans just like Sweet Peas, to produce bushier, more compact plants. That's not what I want though, and I shall take steps to protect my property!

Those wire grilles (shelves from the mini-greenhouses) were all I could think of in the short term, but I doubt whether they will help much. I'm hoping their unfamiliar presence will worry the Pigeons, as well as going some way towards stopping the Blackbirds furtling around in the compost.

As a second line of defence I got Jane to give me some offcuts of ribbon from her store of crafting materials and I have attached them to the canes, so that they blow around in the wind:

I thought there was a nice irony in this choice of ribbon...

Meanwhile, I have got fed up with the blooming Blackbirds kicking the compost off my Asparagus bed so I have covered it with a piece of chicken-wire. It won't stop them, but it will make their game a bit more difficult.

Notice that there is nearly as much compost outside the bed as there is inside it!


  1. I have the same problem with birds. They love to chop off the Wisteria flower buds or kick off the compost I use as mulch. Aside the birds, I have more problems with the stray cats!

  2. I've had trouble with peas in the past, but the last few years I've had a mocking bird next nearby and I think he scares a lot of the birds away.

  3. I've had a few issues with birds including them getting at newly sewn pea seeds and, of course, eating my strawberries, which I now cover with netting. Last year, but my biggest issue was actually when they sat on my trellises and pooping all over my veg. This year, I'll be trying "scare tape" - it is a shiny holographic tape that is supposed to scare birds away through it's movement and the reflections it creates - at $8 for 30 meters, it didn't break the bank either. I've never tried it before, so I'm hoping that it works.

    I have also heard of people stringing up a series of old CD's, etc., which should have the same type of reflective effect - I probably would have tried this if I had any lying around.

  4. Even best friends do annoying things sometimes.

  5. Can't you just net over the beans, Mark? If the canes are already there, you could temporarily top them with some plastic bottles and throw mesh netting over the top - just until the plants have established. I haven't been bothered by birds but am thinking of seeing if some enviromesh will keep black aphids off my broadies until the flowers are out. Bloomin' pests, eh!

  6. I think the only thing which will deter pigeons is covering the whole bed with netting, and even then they still try to get to the plants. They can be a real nuisance.

  7. Hehe, I love to hear blackbirds swooshing through leaves looking for tasty morsels but they can cause a mess!
    I didn't realise pigeons ate broad beans, I should keep an closer eye on mine.

  8. Around here it's the squirrels...


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