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Old 17.07.2015, 00:12
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Trouble of the feathered kind

I have been maintaining a little balcony garden for a while where I cultivate the usual kind of plants- bulbs, herbs, pansies, tomatoes, and so on. Sparrows love my balcony garden (and, in winter, I also treat them to some bird feed; in summer, there's a bird bath).

Early this summer, I started hearing chirping by blackbirds- which is just so beautiful. The trouble is that I started noticing that they are rather too keen on behaving like hens, i.e. destructive. They started with a box of pansies, now are digging out my bulbs, and are currently attacking another box of pansies. I love birds, but I love my plants too. Any solutions?
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Old 17.07.2015, 00:41
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

String a fishing line or two ( I used a nail either end of my balcony as it is wooden ) about 3cm or so above the balcony railing across its length. Birds will not be able to stand on it after trying to land and you can't see it so it doesn't look awful. Ditto around or across the pots ( where you note they are standing to attack your plants). This worked for cockatoos back home.
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Old 17.07.2015, 00:52
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Ever see sillohouttes of black birds at bustops and glass windows? I hear they scare off smaller birds, to keep them from flying into them. Also heard it is a good deterrent to scare them away. You ought to try it out.
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Old 17.07.2015, 08:13
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

I recently moved to a place where the nests and eggs were already in place. Now that the birds have literally flown the coop (and I have had enough of 5 am wake up calls and bird crap all over my balcony), I have hung a wide strip of tinfoil near each of the nests -- the wind blows it, sun reflects on it and it keeps the birds away. Good luck!
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Old 17.07.2015, 09:06
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

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I have been maintaining a little balcony garden for a while where I cultivate the usual kind of plants- bulbs, herbs, pansies, tomatoes, and so on. Sparrows love my balcony garden (and, in winter, I also treat them to some bird feed; in summer, there's a bird bath).

Early this summer, I started hearing chirping by blackbirds- which is just so beautiful. The trouble is that I started noticing that they are rather too keen on behaving like hens, i.e. destructive. They started with a box of pansies, now are digging out my bulbs, and are currently attacking another box of pansies. I love birds, but I love my plants too. Any solutions?
That's what blackbirds do.. They scratch and overturn undergrowth.. put a cover or netting over the plants
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Old 17.07.2015, 14:02
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Aussie12345, Phos, and nanners, I don't want to scare away the sparrows- the destructive ones are the blackbirds. I'll try to buy some netting, rob1. Hopefully, I'll find something plastic or metallic so that they won't get trapped.

Last edited by vuachère; 17.07.2015 at 14:03. Reason: adding about blackbirds
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Old 17.07.2015, 14:45
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Funny this morning. Found Mrs Blackbird taking a bath in the water bowl I leave out for passing creatures. Got the hint. Now the birds have a bowl of water on top of a pillar for their bathroom. I quite like the blackbirds. Hate sparrows.
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Old 17.07.2015, 23:01
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

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Aussie12345, Phos, and nanners, I don't want to scare away the sparrows- the destructive ones are the blackbirds. I'll try to buy some netting, rob1. Hopefully, I'll find something plastic or metallic so that they won't get trapped.
Sparrows are much smaller than blackbirds and a lot more agile. What essentially locks out blackbirds may look like an invitation to sparrows. Perhaps hang the net so that it ends ... experiment ... 30-40cm above the balcony parapet. That may be cool for the sparrows but too narrow for the blackbirds.

Less of an issue with nets than with curtains, but may still be relevant:
A balcony parapet that is in plain sunlight will heat up a lot, warm the air, which rises straight up. If the curtain is outside the parapet it will catch the warm air and create a greenhouse effect, thus you want the curtain nicely inside the parapet. I'd guess half the distance between parapet and net/curtain, that's how much you want it to be inside.

A white curtain, instead of a net, will also block the sunlight. There's no issue with visibility for the birds, and you may even get them virtually for free from people who are moving out.
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Old 18.07.2015, 12:44
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Stick chop sticks or something cheaper like wooden skewers in the pots. All my neighbours do it and now me too. It really works, at least for us.
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Old 18.07.2015, 18:07
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Such a sad sad thread - can't people have a bit more tolerance for birds- no wonder they are disappearing but the million! Sparrows have become scarce in so many areas- we have tons here and although they do make a bit of a mess- they are such a joy. Why on earth do you HATE sparrows neddy?

Both tree and house sparrows are on the RSPB danger list. Friends and relatives from the UK all comment on how wonderful it is to see so many sparrows here, as they have totally disappeared from where they are (recently Surrey and the Midlands). Can't we make a bit of space for them?
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Old 18.07.2015, 18:17
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Thanks Urs_Max and snapsterone. I have bought the nets and I intend to drape it over the plants. Hopefully, the blackbirds will get the hint and I can take it off soon.

Odile, I don't have anything against birds, but didn't expect these from the blackbirds. They have actually destroyed some of my bulbs, as well as my tubs of pansies (and it had been looking so good). The dianthus is history, as are some of the capsicum. I also see that they have started working on the other pots- so I have to do something before I lose everything!

I am hoping that the net (spread very low over the plants) doesn't scare away the sparrows. They used to be merrily prancing about in the pots to reach their bird bath and feed, but this might make it difficult for them now...

Last edited by vuachère; 18.07.2015 at 19:07.
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Old 18.07.2015, 19:06
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

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Such a sad sad thread - can't people have a bit more tolerance for birds- no wonder they are disappearing but the million! Sparrows have become scarce in so many areas- we have tons here and although they do make a bit of a mess- they are such a joy. Why on earth do you HATE sparrows neddy?

Both tree and house sparrows are on the RSPB danger list. Friends and relatives from the UK all comment on how wonderful it is to see so many sparrows here, as they have totally disappeared from where they are (recently Surrey and the Midlands). Can't we make a bit of space for them?
Plenty of sparers over the Wolds. Less cats down twards Skeggy.
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Old 18.07.2015, 20:07
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Re: Trouble of the feathered kind

Lincolnshire Wolds, Tennyson country- I imagine as you mention dear old Skeggy (Skegga...) which I associate more with seals than sparrows - not far from my old haunts.
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