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List of garden pests : Birds

Cauliflower damaged by pigeons

Cauliflower damaged by pigeons

Many different bird species can cause damage to plants. Fruit and vegetables are the main targets, being good food sources. Pigeons are major pests of all cabbage family plants, peas, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants. Crows attack peas in rural areas. Bullfinches and sparrows strip out the buds of fruit trees and bushes.

Blackbirds, thrushes and redwings eat strawberries, cherries, apples, pears and any sort of red berries such as cotoneaster, mountain ash and pyracantha. Starlings eat cherries and, along with crows, commonly peck at lawns to get leather jacket grubs but this is at least as beneficial as it is damaging.

Netting is the most effective solution to bird damage. Crops are only vulnerable for a part of the year and can be netted at those times. Damage to cabbage family plants usually ceases when they are about 20 centimetres tall because the birds cannot see over the plants, but if they are hungry enough, damage will continue.

Scaring devices such as strips of foil or plastic work quite well, but the birds can get used to them eventually.

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