Having read the post and subsequent threads –
As much as I am all for permaculture, respectful of natural ecosystem management and wanting to live in harmony with the birds –
The issue with blackbirds and the like actively destroying my hard work has become truly diabolical for me. Mulch or no, these little sods will persistently dig even established fruiting plants (peppers, tomatoes etc) right at the base. I absolutely cannot plant anything from seed, ever – which is a problem for things like carrots which don’t grow well if transplanted from seed trays. The mess is one thing, but I am now sick and tired of finding established plants repeatedly attacked at their base.
It’s not a great solution to surround every single plant with rocks to block the birds from digging.
Unless I surround the plant with rocks entirely at a distance covering the entire root structure, these creatures will dig right underneath the rocks to get to the root system (and yes, it’s birds, not rats. I have observed them at their work). Problematically, vegetables don’t like having the soil surrounding them to be 100% covered with rocks. Especially when the weather is very hot. Weedmat is only partially successful – the birds have learned to dig under that as well.
Literally anything I mulch is always savaged. Savaged. Dug up brutally. Not just a mess, but holes around half a fist deep peppered through the area. I’ve never seen anything like it until it started happening 12 months ago, when I did most of the transformation of the back yard I came to own.
The only thing that prevents the daily destruction is to cut up sufficient layers of bird wire and firmly lay it over every single square inch of mulched soil, wherever there are plants, wherever there are seeds germinating. The problem with this is that *I can’t leave that bird wire there forever* !! Once the plants start to grow, the wire eventually gets in the way of that growth. Whatever area is left around the plant uncovered, I guarantee, it is dug up.
Ever tried to grow carrots with bird wire over the soil? Once they are getting established, it's impossible to remove the wire without destroying plants - and there's no way to leave them exposed without the birds digging them all up the next day.
I am loathe to build wire cages around everything because then I may as well pack in the entire landscape design of the yard. I don’t want to look out to a landscape of wire boxes. It’s also simply impractical. It’s a bit hard to do your daily pinch / tie / cut etc of the tommies if you have to lift off a wire cage and then rebuild it every single time you go in there.
Honestly, whilst I understand the natural order of things and value the insect pest-control role that birds play (although I see little evidence of their interest in pest bugs in my garden) – I have grown to absolutely loathe these creatures. I have a regularly filled birdbath and god knows they have plenty of tomatoes to feast upon – no problem – they are welcome to half my crop – but still they remain primarily interested in digging up my plants at the root base and decimating every square inch of mulched garden they can access. They have started coming right up to the back door and digging up my potted plants – this whilst there is an entire back yard of goodies to choose from. It drives me completely insane.
Shiny things, things that move in the wind – the birds are smarter than that.
Hence I am seeking whatever new ways of managing this problem that I can find.
Last edited: 12 January 2018 03:19:07