Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sparrow for Dinner? Update

I feel like I need to reassure anyone reading this post that I'm not a bird murderer. This rant is the culmination of weeks of mayhem in the garden caused by birds, written and posted in the heat of the moment. Really, I love birds. I have feeders, I grow plants for them, and I let things go to seed and look ugly in the garden, just for them. Just imagine the months of nurturing, work, and lots of resources that went into those vegetables when you read this....
If they keep eating my dinner I just might. After eating all those yummy nutritious garden fresh vegetables you know they're going to be succulent and tasty.

First they feasted on tender young sugar snap pea shoots. Almost none left for me. grumble grumble

Then... they moved on to the EvenStar rapini. Got that under netting before they did too much damage. whew

After that... they moved on to the Olive Leaf wild arugula. That's under netting and in recovery. what next!?

Why... the Cavolo Nero, Romanesco, and Broccolis of course!

Darn their feathery fannies!!

I spent way too much time today getting my brassica bed under netting - and this was the second attempt. Yesterday's efforts got me nowhere. The little monsters just pecked the leaves through the netting and they figured out how to get in and out from under the netting. So the feast continued. I got it all nice and secure this afternoon. The netting is suspended above the foliage and fastened down tight all around. Then I went out to see how things were going. My little feathered fiends had figured out that they could get to the leaves by sitting on the net and their weight would allow them to sink down onto the foliage. arrgh So, one last fix was to plop a piece of rigid wire mesh on top of the whole get-up.

The brassicas are now under lock-down. See......... sheese, what a ridiculous setup

The fabric is protecting newly seed areas from you guessed it... birds!
This garden will never be featured in some magazine full of pretty pictures.

Lacey Cavolo Nero Leaves viewed through netting.
Not a fancy new variety.
The birds only like the tenderest parts of the leaves.
My aren't we finicky!

And why are there rocks in the pot?
Someone (yeah you know who) likes to get in there and kick the dirt out.

I'm a bird lover, but my patience has its limits. What a pain it's going to be to harvest and tend my poor plants. Oh, and to forstall one helpful hint, flashy objects did not deter the birds. There is definitely one downside to not allowing my cats access to the vegetable garden.


  1. That is so sad. It reminds me of my battles with the dreaded chipmunks last year. My birds at least don't destroy too much except when they are looking for nesting material. Then any frilly plant gets broken off. I only swear at them in the springtime.

  2. Wow, those guys are pesky! And tenacious. Much like my squirrel! Hm, there is some weird French recipe for eating songbirds, some banned underground thing where they roast them whole and then eat them with a napkin covering the eater's face. Kinda barbaric but your funny rant reminded me of that!

  3. I should be thankful that I haven't had problems with squirrels. And I don't think we have chipmunks around here, oh thank goodness!

    Karen, I think those are Ortolans you're remembering. Really weird.

    And, rest assured everyone, I could never stoop to offing and eating garden birds.

  4. Grrr.... Squirrels are such a pain! I can understand your feelings about pests in your garden. though I birds hardly visit my tiny garden, the squirrels are always on watch for the hibiscuses to bud!

  5. Crows are my demise and scarecrows don't work either. Birds are one of the most frustrating battles. I hope you have won the battle, it sure looks like it.

  6. Hi Ang, interesting, there are lots of crows around here but they haven't been a problem... yet! I'm not sure that I have won the battle, there's still some exposed plants they haven't sampled.

  7. I knew you were kidding! Gee, I hope others did too. Well, I have my squirrel to rant about, you have your sparrows. I am a vegetarian and totally non-violent, but it's fun to take it out on them in words! :) Yes, you're right, ortolans is what I was thinking of. That is up there with monkey brain sushi as the ickiest (and cruelest) dining idea ever.

  8. Well Colonel, I beg to differ. I think it would be more accurate to describe my garden as a big all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. There is plenty of food to be found around here for the birds, my garden happens to have the tastiest. :)

    And you are correct, they are very smart, now that the buffet has been closed, they've moved on.

  9. Karen, I guess not everyone appreciates my sense of humor! Ortolans and monkey brains, I could never that hungry.

  10. Well good luck with keeping them off now! Sparrows used to be eaten in Spain, but I don't know if they are now, as I can remember seeing them upside down legs in the air on the counter of a tapas bar in Madrid in the late 70s. I didn't try one though, not enough meat!

  11. This post and the comments were just what I needed for a good laugh!

    Sorry the birds are being so pesky, though. Hope the netting does some good. :-)

  12. Sorry Michelle (if you can see me smiling) but I just love the way you are describing the hole scenario.
    Grrr.. all those baddies always trying to distroy our crops, we put in so much effort and work so hard, then they come flying in or worse... the slugs that comes crawling in during the night when we poor workers are a sleep! Grrr..

  13. Wow, I see what you mean, not everyone got your sense of humor... p'haps they need an irony implant in order to make out jokes. Hope one is invented soon! Oy.

  14. I have never heard of birds eating broccoli. We fortunately for the garden (unfortunately for the chickens) have tons of hawks and eagles so our small bird population is rather slim. I can't believe they ate your peas...that would be enough to make me declare war!

  15. Kim, the birds love the leaves and the rats eat the buds - thats what happened last year. So far the rats haven't been too much of a problem in the garden. We have plenty of hawks around here. I think that's why the squirrels don't bother my garden, they seem to like a quick escape route which the garden doesn't afford them. When the hawks come diving through all the other birds take cover and are really quiet for about 20 minutes, then they all come out and resume whatever they were doing before.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.