My father was head gardener for some years at the Heinemann Estate in Kingswood where, amongst other things, he and his team grew veg for the staff canteen and then someone decided outside caterers were more cost effective. Dad was still gardener there, keeping the lawns and borders in tip-top condition, but his precious half acre of veg became a small warehouse site. Such is progress – and I only mention him because he waged war against pigeons (of which his only printable name was flying rats) with all the ferocity and colourful terminology of the British Royal Navy stoker that he had been from 1940 to 1946.
Dad had a whole host of anti-pigeon defences. He tried scarecrows, which they used as perches. Strings of foil milk bottle tops and children’s windmill, to flutter in the breeze were another ploy. He tried empty cans on lines to clatter about. Nothing really worked other than some netted areas for the most vulnerable crop.
Brassicas are a magnet for pigeons for some reason and going down to the allotment today (to put some fleece over my cucumbers and squashes against the expected frosts tonight and tomorrow night) I found that broccoli seem especially attractive to them. Leave any member of the cabbage family unprotected and these pesky birds will swoop in and plunder the plot like marauding pirates!
Mark one for the flying rats.