Ligaya Gardening tips #3 Blackbirds

We often get asked for gardening tips, so have decided to do a weekly post describing things we do to keep our garden going well with bugger all effort.

I’ll collate them on this page.

Here’s this week’s…

Blackbirds are real characters. We love them so much that a mama bird makes her nest in a wall pot by our front door. It’s so close that if you open the security screen hard, you actually hit the pot with her babies in.

Mama bird will fly a couple of metres away and sit on the fence while we are in and out but will zoom back in once we are past. She will even sit back and watch while I feed and film the little ones.

It’s all good fun, but Blackbirds are known to be the bane of tidy gardeners and fresh mulch, throwing it over the cleanest of gravel paths with glee. This mulch distribution service is offered free of charge.

I used to chase them, throw things at them and generally curse their existence until I realised that they don’t dig in densley planted areas once the seedlings have grown beyond a couple of mature leaves.

So now, we plant even more densely than before, inter-planting with anything we have, even if it won’t see its way to full maturity.

Fast growing, leafy crops like Mustards and Lettuce are the best and eventually, with more conventional methods, we will have a multi- pronged approach to keeping our mulch in one place.

That multi- pronged approach is as follows –

  1. Keep a heavy covering of perennials. Once established, they will be immune to the attentions of the blackbirds and as they cover more ground, will protect it. If this covering is along the edges of paths, it will make a barrier to keep the mulch on the beds. This also means that we can leave the centre of garden areas open so the blackbirds can run amok and take out a few pests for us.
  2. Let all the quick growing annuals self sow. If we can get a seed bank in the soil that will include plants that will germinate before the blackbirds arrive and get down to breeding.

  3. Blackbirds don’t like shiny wine cask bladders. One on the ground will keep them away from an area of a couple of square metres or so. For blackbirds, these work best when put on the ground, not hung in the trees as we do for other birds.

Wine cask bladder bird scarer
Wine cask bladders are a deterrent

We don’t want to get rid of the blackbirds and the services they provide for us, we just want to keep the paths clean and the mulch in one place. They’re intelligent, cheeky and you kind of get to know them. I’m hoping the same Mama bird comes back next season, or at least one of her babies that has fond memories of us.

And those babies are just so cute. Any disturbance and you see a whole bunch of little heads and beaks poking up in search of food.

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