Bloody Starlings! (Bloody Sturnus vulgaris!)

Bloody starlings too right! The weekend had arrived and the crops this year are very poor indeed due to the intense heat and lack of any rain. The overhanging grapes indeed looked like they have hangover as the bunches consisted of various sized grapes unlike last year where they all were bursting with health and urging the owner to crush them.

So a poor harvest but at least there was going to be some sort of harvest, I thought. Looking under the trellis I saw that many of the grapes had fallen onto the ground, most consisting of the ripened grapes. I fed these to the chickens thinking that the wind or the little rain we had in my absence this week must have blown or knocked them off respectively.

Whilst lying down at lunchtime with the windows all open, as all Bulgarian do here, there was a commotion of noise outside. not being able to relax I upped and view the cause. As appeared outside a great clutter of flapping wings took course and a split second later a flock of starlings flew out of my vines. They are ugly and ungraceful birds as well which compound the anger, 'Bloody starlings!'

Now I have seen these birds in England but in Bulgaria they seem to be twice the size, and presumably twice the appetite for my grapes. I felt that they were rubbing slat into the wounds of the poor harvest to turn it into a non harvest.

Thoughts about how to prevent this happening only led one immediate remedy, make the vines untouchable. I could cover the whole area with netting but there are two problems with this. Buying netting on a wholesale scale with the area it had to cover and the fact that this was an English way of solving the problem, something that didn't usually work over here.

Speaking to my Bulgarian neighbours for advice was the immediate next step, they should know. At this point I wondered why this problem wasn't here last year, I couldn't remember having to think of solutions then. Maybe it's because I'm here only at weekends last year I was on the land most of the day and evenings, it could be that.

I should have known that speaking to my Bulgarian friends about this problem they would come up with the most Bulgarian way of dealing with it. A shrug of the shoulder and advice that was given was very difficult for me to come to terms with. The answer was to do nothing! They commented that there is enough for everyone and when they are full up they will go away! Had they seen numbers in their thousands flying around the land, were they aware of the wastage that gets left on the ground knock off by fluttering around. Somehow though I knew the answer would be based around letting nature to the business....... it is so Bulgarian to do that.

For a Bulgarian it is how they are and how they think that is so different. I often think, how can they not be besides themselves with the thought of the thieving starlings taking free picking
and they do nothing? It was added that the crop wasn't good anyway so why am I worrying? Well, this didn't really make me feel much better. the difference could be between getting a little wine and getting no wine, that's a big difference to me.

The rest of the weekend was spent trying to come to terms with the Bulgarian way of dealing with these bloody starling, do nothing. But every trip into the garden was followed by a big clap of the hands and a shout of, 'Bloody starlings!' A drop in the ocean seeing as I am to leave the place for five days and let them get on with it, why do I bother why I am there, to a Bulgarian it is looked on as wasted energy and anger that shouldn't be there. It is so hard to think like a Bulgarian, but they are right and the advice is probably the best I will get - in Bulgaria anyway.