Friday, May 30, 2008

ENEMY # 1: The Starling

OK, so you've heard me rant sporadically about the starling problem I have currently.

Let me start out by saying that, as a vegetarian, I honor an animal's right to live the life it was meant to live. I try not to interfere with nature, even if it makes me a bit crabby in the process.

HOWEVER, in dealing with these birds, I'm starting to think that they are so smart that they've turned things into a big senseless game. I've seen them perched on the railing or on a container, giving me that beady, naughty eye, and then scissoring their beaks through my green treasures. Now if they were actually eating the spoils, or if they were using it for nesting material, I might be able to rationalize the destruction. But no, they just snip and pick foliage and let it fall to the ground. I really do think that they are just bored, and because they have a higher intelligence than most other birds, they come up with "games" to entertain themselves.

In all fairness, I'm sure I wouldn't be quite so upset if starlings were actually nice to look at. They are squatty, oily, dirty, and crass. If I had some plucky wrens or some regal cardinals it wouldn't be nearly as infuriating.

The problem is amplified by the fact that they have nested on our house. Our house is older, and one of the boards underneath the balcony recently ripped off. An enterprising starling must have eyed the hole one day and thought "JACKPOT". I swear it seems like there are about 20 birds living directly under my garden. Since the living situation is so crowded they are forced to just "hang out" on the telephone wires strung from the top of the house - a perfect vantage point for the garden.

Well, I've put up with the nesting and squawking and scolding for over a month, hoping that once the babies got older they would all fly the coop. Not so - I think they're made themselves very comfortable living in OUR house. I finally broke down this week and called the landlord imploring him to nail over the hole. I know, it's insensitive and oh-so-human of me, but dammit, I'm not going to lose my whole garden over some aviary frolicking.

Not only that, but it's in our landlord's best interest to prevent something larger and more destructive from nesting on this say, a squirrel or a raccoon.

So for the time being I'm stuck playing goalie, trying to keep these birds away from the plants. Our landlord has said he'll be out within a few days - he better get moving - I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out.

Updates to follow!

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