Saturday, August 7

Airborne biological control

Do you need airborne biological control - just call in the flying squad!

The video below shows just why we encourage birds onto our plot and into the garden.

The twittering in our plum trees drew attention to a flock of goldfinches. They were busy at work picking aphids off the back of the leaves. The bird in the video is only a baby but already capable of doing a pretty thorough job! Birds often get a bad press from gardeners when they dig up seeds, peck at fruit, strip down cabbages etc. and some people can't understand why we encouarge them but in my opinion the benefits outweigh everything else.

On our website there is an article about goldfinches including a video clip of a beautiful adult bird on one of our garden bird feeders. It's here if you want to take a look.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, they are good to look at and provide free garden maintainance. Sharing is good for the soul.

  2. Hi Captain - And they keep us amused during winter - at the moment the blackbirds are taking our excess redcurrants we have plenty.

  3. I agree up to a point, whilst I love birds I'm struggling to find a place in my heart for the woodpigeon I'm afraid!

  4. I love having different birds in my garden, especially around fruit trees. They do not eat fruits at all. Except for starlings and blackbirds, they do eat grapes.
    It's true that they sometimes dig up seeds. But only if I don't use net.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think I have seen any goldfinch around here.

  5. Hi Damo, As I write this a woodpigeon is perched on top of the bird table in the garden. Granted they can be a pest on the plot but we net our brassicas against cabbage whites anyway and so the netting doubles as bird netting. They don't seem to be a problem in the garden though.

    Hi vrtlarica - our blackbirds help themselves to some fruit but leave enough for us - we don't seem to get many starlings although at one time their were noisy flocks of them in the garden.

  6. I agree with the natures balance theme wholehartedly, Sue. But there are practical considerations. We have a bank of trees alongside our site (a cemetry) and the pigeons don't even wait for the last person to leave before flocking down, sitting on nets to weigh them down so that they can take their fill!

    Maybe a net over the whole plot with a mesh which allows small birds in but keeps pigeons out?

    There's a balance needed. We have "water voles" aka rats at our site that nibble anything available at ground level - beetroot turnips. We have to wash thoroughly as there are risks (Limes disease). But we also have urban foxes who keep the vole population in check.

    Now what's your view on slugs? Are there any redeeming features, and what do you do about them? Myself I pay the inflated price for the "Organically Approved" variety to keep my conscience and the environment as clean as possible and make sure I get them down before the slimey b&$+&&£$ get to take up residency in my brassicas. Nature's balance needs a hand sometimes!!!

  7. It's the organically approved slug pellets that I use.

    ps Thanks for the steer on the carrot. Enjoyed the vid. Will reply to your comment on my site - but have to do some weeding just now!

  8. Hi Mal,
    I'm not a total live and let live sort - if I had the sort of problems that you had I would resort to controlling things too.

    I hate slugs - no redeeming features at all - that's my take on them but this year they don't seem to have been as much of a problem. It's been dry and we've also had lots of frogs lurking in amongst the strawberries etc. As for controlling them like you we do use pellets if we have to - but not piles of them as some people do - we also bought some new granules that are supposed to deter slugs but we haven't had to use them this year. Must admit the blackbirds and thrushes batter the snails as we keep finding broken shells and empty shells too so something else must winkle them out.

    If anyone could come up with something to remove whitefly from the face of the planet then I'd subscribe. Would take steps against rats too and we also have to resort to controlling field mice in the greenhouse or we wouldn't have anything to eat ourselves.

    We don't just rely on nature's balance just keep it in mind and use it wherever possible.

    Hope you had a successful weeding session

  9. What a fabulous video. The goldfinch certainly does seem to be doing a good job!

  10. Hi Amy
    They were back again this afternoon too.


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