The birds didn't seem to notice my garden until it was more than a year old. Hostilities first broke out when I discovered the remains of eighteen red cabbage seedlings that were reduced to a single stalk on each plant. At first I blamed snails and spent the afternoon looking up organic snail control methods. Then I noticed a Loerie eying up my replacement seedlings.
Later that year things came to a head when the mousebirds moved in on my tomato plants. My initial attempts at netting the plats didn't work out. The mousebirds seem to think I had built them a community centre. My afternoons were spent releasing full-tummied birds and picking up the remains of the ruined fruit. The birds definitely won the skirmish.
This spring we launched a bold full frontal campaign to defeat our mortal enemies. Chris built me some netting hoops which has been terrific for the small veggies. They are build around a frame so I lift up one side to get into the veggies. Very smart.
Our efforts for the tomatoes have been less elegant but no less effectives. They are cages made around frame built out of plumbing pipes. Not very pretty but they get the job done. On the experimental warfare front I used organza bags to individually protect the fruit in my orchard (for the record you only need five trees to call it an orchard. I have six. So there.). So far the fruit is nibble free and growing bigger every day.
Three for three.
The runner beans aren't doing so well. A happy runner bean can grow to three metres. they are also creepers so are more likely to use bird netting as a support for protection. Last year, even without any protection my beans were a triumph. This year sad little plants have languished as the based of their supports. Many hours of reconnaissance has revealed a two pronged attack: Loeries and Mousebirds have both need nibbling on the growth tips. Evil birds.
Before you feel too sad for the birds, know this: at first I've tried to share. My garden has five or six mulberries, a mature plum, ornamental plums and a wonderful wild pear tree. All available for for their pleasure. But no. They had to have the veggies.
I tried hanging CD's (actually DVD's: Spongebob, Finding Nemo and a very scorched copy of Aladin. The boys are teenagers but I'm still hoping they don't look to closely). They birds ignored them and Shannon (my long suffering and non veggie eating husband) called me trailer trash.
Last week I bought, at vast expense, an artificial hour. Positively guaranteed to deter all small winged animals.
This morning I found the mousebirds using it as a perch.
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