birds stealing my leaves.

pearsaml(6)May 9, 2011

I can't confirm this with 100% certainty, but I think birds are stealing my lettuce and spinach. Little brown birds. Last year around this same time of year, huge chunks of my leafy greens would be missing, and the leaves would have jagged edges. At first I thought this must be a caterpillar or something... but I never found any evidence of them. However, I HAVE actually seen these little brown birds take pieces of my plants away. I've never actually seen them do it on the lettuce or spinach, but last year I saw them do this on my broccoli plant, and rip a piece off of the leaf and fly away with it. The edge on that leaf looked like the kind of marks that were left on my leafy greens. Whatever it was has never taken/eaten pieces of my tomato, pepper, or hops plants. and the damage it leaves doesn't look like photos that i've seen of different insect damage. But I don't know what to do about it... I have a dog that spends a lot of time in the yard but doesn't really bother the birds when they come around. And there are also stray cats coming around all the time. but they still seem to want my spinach and lettuce. and bean plant leaves.

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So I just sat outside for a little while and I suppose this is the thieving hour because I just watched a couple of these little friends: some house sparrows, ripping pieces off of my lettuce plants and flying away. They barely paid any mind to me coming toward them until I was about 3 feet away. My dog just watched lazily as the birds tore apart my greens. what do they want it for? are they eating it? building a nest? can I offer something else that will make them lose interest in my salad greens?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 6:17PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Bird netting. I wouldn't feed them or you'll have them forever, you'll find them more interested in seeds, seedlings, fruits, berries than in insects - so not particularly beneficial to have nearby.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 8:49PM
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They seem to like my spinach and lettuce more than anything else

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:21PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I've done as much as I can to discourage them here, including removing their nests when they take over bird boxes - or we'd have no native birds in the neighborhood at all. We agreed as a neighborhood to not put out food other than nyger seed for finches and chickadees (the clinging type eaters) etc (sparrows can't eat from those feeders) and hummingbird feeders, that's helped enormously.
There were so many sparrows for a couple of years we were honestly considering trapping the males but it didn't come to that - and now we have mosquito eating swallows back and nesting every year :)

The plastic bird netting is inexpensive and easy to handle, you can roll it back up and use again next year if you have to.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sparrows

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:33PM
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