Birds - Pest of Beetroot

We cannot very well class birds as either insects or fungi, but they make themselves felt all the same. Irate gardeners are apt to declare that the sparrow is beyond classification: he is an outcast, a pariah. There are millions of sparrows around my garden, and newcomers of this feather view the place with a lively intelligence and satisfaction, as something specially prepared for their benefit. Old stagers are rather less chirpy. Sometimes a hot impulse of anger surges in my breast when I see a batch of seedlings cleared off, but no man can be cross with a sparrow long; the little bird is too cheerfully impudent in his dishonesty. Beetroot growers raise harrowing moans over the depredations of the birds. Certainly thousands of plants are pulled out every spring, and often two, and even three, sowings are made. I recommend all sufferers to invest in a few square yards of old tanned fish netting. A big piece can be got for half a crown, and with care it lasts at least three seasons. It is because I use fish netting over my Beetroot bed that the old hands (or should I say feathers'?) in the select sparrow circles of the neighbourhood are more subdued than the young bloods. They have learnt something by bitter experience. Green-leaved varieties of Beet are not, as a rule, so badly punished by birds as dark-leaved sorts.