Keeping sparrows away?

ncage(z5 IL)April 15, 2011

Guys, last year was the 1st year this happend. If this isn't the correct forum to post this. Last year something was tearing my peppers to shreds. Almost all the peppers looked like they had been nibbled down and almost all the leaves had been torn off. At first i thought it was rabbits but there has always been rabbits in my garden and they had never did any damage before. So one day i'm looking out my window and i see sparrows of all things tearing the leaves off my peppers.

I thought the peppers would recover but they never did. So i'm really trying to think of an idea to solve it this year. I tilled about a week ago. Today i looked out and i noticed there were plenty of birds being attracted to my garden when there is nothing in it include robins, cardinal, & sparrows. I'm trying to figure out what attracts them so much so i can prevent my peppers being attacked this year. I only can come up with two things:

1. I don't have a compost barrel. I just through my vegetable scraps on top of the garden. Its not like there is that much compost there but there is some. Maybe the little compost i have is attracting the birds? Maybe if i delay putting compost in the garden until at least the peppers are hardy enough that hte sparrows won't bother them?

2. I usually put all of my grass clippings on my garden to control weeds & to fertilize the garden. I haven't put any on yet this year but last fall there was a lot of grass laying on my garden. Maybe the seeds from the grass are attracting the birds?

3. Like i said i just tilled. I need to till again so i can till in both peat moss & fertilizer. Maybe i should till this weekend to make sure i don't bring up any more fresh seeds or anything that the sparrows would like to feed on?

What do you guys think? Like i said in previous years this never happened but my garden is the biggest its been 30x20 and while i did put some grass on the garden it wasn't to the quantity that i put on it now and i didn't put compost on top of my garden either.

any help would be appreciated.

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ncage(z5 IL)

In #3 i meant till now rather than closer to planting which will be around May 20. I would think if there are seeds and stuff i bring up when i till then the birds will already have got to them within a month.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 8:20PM
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tlowery04(6b/7a)

they are attracted to for lack of a better term, color changes. after you till the ground is mostly brown with probably roots and sticks and what have you intermitently dispersed. birds flying over see grass, grass, grass, brown patch with white stuff (roots usually, at least in my garden)
and subsequently land to forage. this time of year they eat pretty much anything tender, grass, small leaves, worms, bugs, grubs, etc etc etc.

they tore apart my only chiletepin i put outside so far, now it is back inside, under a lamp, with only one leaf left. it takes a long time but i've found that as long as the stalk of the plant is not withered, it will usually grow new leaves and begin growing again.

in the past i have used cds on string, pin wheels, and a loud yard windmill that nothing would stay near. But the best deterrent i have found so far is our three cats. although they seemed to have dropped the ball this year.

i do wish they would feast on the weeds i am going to have to pick this weekend.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 3:02AM
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ncage(z5 IL)

Thanks for the reply. Looks like they did your cheltepins what they did to a lot of my peppers last year. Unfortunately mine never recovered like you did. A coupe grew a couple set of leaves but they never thrived. See i might be a little different than your situation because i have a huge corn field in back of me). Not sure how a cd on a string think would work. If its effective then please let me know. Unfortunately no cats though.

The only thing i can think is till as far from plant time as possible and also plant a little later than usual so hopefully they have enough food that they aren't attacking my peppers. What do you think?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 1:48PM
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tlowery04(6b/7a)

that may work well for you, we tend to leave our ground fallow for about a week before planting (more out of procrastination than anything) and they don't seem to stick around (as much) after they have thoroughly foraged through the dirt.

The cd on a string has limited success. The theory behind it is that a bright glint, in an animals mind, is usually that of the eye of a predator. much like shining a flashlight or catching an animals eye in your headlamp you kind of get that odd glare. but anyway, they associate it with danger and avoid the area. The problems we had were keeping them in an area where they would spin and just like anything else after awhile they seemed to lack effectiveness.

if you are not adverse to sport, being in a rural setting (i would not suggest otherwise) a little bird shot in a .22 goes a long way (note: the casing will jamb in a semi automatic rifle or pistol, only recommended for a revolver or bolt action rifle that accepts .22 LR cartridges.) Also various outdoor/farm supply stores sell sparrow live traps for chicken coups which can be baited with a little bird seed; although i have not tried the caging setup yet so i cannot attest to how well it works.

i can't help but think scare crow when i think of a corn field :)

just a thought, do you have any bird feeders in the area that attract the birds?

if so, maybe moving them farther from the garden would help? and if not, maybe adding them would draw them from the garden... like sacrificial companion plants.

oh and another tid bit learned from experience and a lot of time correcting it, if you buy bird seed, avoid mixes with thistle (unless you happen to like thistle) it survives the intestinal tract and sprout everywhere the birds have been. we made that mistake a few years ago and have been battling it ever since. I go out about once a month or so on the ranger and cut up any i see with a hand held weed whacker and as long as i get them before they seed out they usually don't come back in the area

well, that got a bit windy, hopefully something was helpful,

good luck!

Trent

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 1:59AM
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romy6(9)

My friend swears by the old black trash bag tied to a stick. Says it keeps the pest out of his garden. Must be the sound and movement of the bag. I guess if there is not much wind it doesn't do so well.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:19AM
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