Bird Theft--Corn, Beans and Peas
Posted: Jun-12-2004 at 8:28am
I suspect birds were the varmints that made my pea seeds disappear a few months ago, so I've covered my corn and bean seeds with Reemay. When is it safe to remove the Reemay? Are the birds still a threat when the sprouts are small?
Location: Oregon, Willamette Valley
Posted: Jun-12-2004 at 9:54am Once the plants are out of the ground, you can remove the remay. I have seen crows, only, pick barely sprouted corn. But usually after the growth starts you dont have to worry about the birds, then it is the rabbits turn. Planting pea seeds in over an inch deep, may deter the birds interest due to beaks that are shorter than that! I have not had problems with crows if I plant the seed at least an inch deep. I use a dibble (sp?) that is marked with a strip of tape at about 1 inch.--I like to think that instead of making a furrow, that using the dibble leaves less of a trail for the crows to follow.It is labor intensive, but if it works, you only have to plant seeds once! Thats my theory and it worked this year!
Location: Washington, Puget Sound Corridor
Posted: Jun-12-2004 at 7:35pm My mother taught me that when planting corn, the rule is "one to rot, one for the crows, and one for me." But crows are quick learners. My corn growing friend has taught them to stay about 100 yards away from any human. Yes, about the range of his shotgun but they do not differentiate yet between Dick and I so they keep moving as I walk through the cornfield. As a farmer, he can do that but we can not.
When I was a kid and there was a $0.25 bounty for a pair of crows' feet, all you had to do was clap your hands or hold your arms as in pretending to point a rifle and they would do an immediate right angle turn away from you. Today we must provide something beside shotgun deaths.
Without some negative reinforcement, they can/will walk down a row and pull every sprout until they are full. When I put 4' wide wood frame raised beds at my mother's ten years ago, I quickly learned that chicken wire laid on the bed would discourage this sprout pulling.
And the parents teach their offspring to follow the same habits. If you can teach one generation 'proper behavior', then later ones will follow with just a little reinforcement.
Some years back, I used pellets and a slingshot to try to discourage deer in my garden. At times, you'd have thought that my shot to their rump was no more than a fly bite. However a few target practice shots at crows, so well trained them that even though they can not see me emerge from my back door because of the overhang, they still "caw/caw/caw" their warning signal that the @#* is out again, look out!
Crows have not even walked on my grass for many years which I am convinced is from training their parents. Train your own with a projectile, wire screen on the bed, or some other way and you'll be rewarded with less of their intrusions.
Sunset Zone 5, USDA Zone 8