Flocks of birds raiding fields

Farmers do not find themselves in a favorable situation. Soft fields make it impossible to start farm work, while this year's cold spring is forcing migratory birds to stay in Estonia for longer.

„The birds have been here for a while, and there is a lot of them – the fields are thick with them. Some flocks have a thousand birds or more,“ chairman of Valga County farmers Kalle Kits summarized.

„Farmers have been feeding winter crops, while this year's next to nonexistent winter has the grain fooled so it has already risen. Birds go where there is something to eat,“ he added.

Head of Kesa-Agro Venda Vihmann from Sangaste parish agreed. „We have great flocks on grain fields. And they won't leave for their nesting grounds before it gets warmer,“ he said.

Ain Juurikas from Helme parish has been spared visits by hungry birds so far. The thousand-strong gaggle of geese stopping near Kalme village has so far preferred his neighbor's pastures.

The farmer said bitterly he supposed the neighbor has something better to offer –  clover probably. „The situation is poor: work is not being done. Rains have rendered the fields soft and therefore inaccessible,“ he said.

Both Kits and chief specialist at the environment board's species protection bureau Tõnu Talvi said that while the situation is not rosy for farmers in the south of the country, the situation is even worse up north. This was echoed by head of the Virumaa Farmers Association Einar Jakobi.

„Virumaa is on the birds' migration path. I have no fields on the coast myself; however, I know birds will stop for weeks and even months on coastal fields this year. They are also becoming used to all manner of scarers,“ he pointed out.

If head of the Estonian Ornithological Society Andres Kalamees believed on Wednesday that spring migration has reached its peak, at least in the vicinity of Võrtsjärv, Talvi believes it could get worse.

“Migration is happening in stages because of the changeable weather. The critical period might fall to the first half of May when geese will be accompanied by barnacle geese,” he said

“Because weather conditions are unfavorable and the nesting period is drawing nearer, it is possible barnacle geese will mostly fly over Estonia without stopping,” he added however.

Chief research fellow and head of the geese monitoring program at the Estonian University of Life Sciences Aivar Leito emphasized that barnacle geese have never posed a serious threat to Valga County fields – rather they tend to stop in western and northern Estonia.

“A prolonged migration could mean a more modest effect of barnacle geese everywhere in Estonia. The migration period always ends around the same time. Geese are staying longer this year. The first wedges appeared in the middle of March. That is why damage done to fields will probably be greater,” he explained.

Kits said it is too early to talk more specifically about damage done in different counties. The head of Valga farmers said that while it is too early to tally up the damage, great flocks of birds can be seen almost everywhere in the county.

While farmers and scientists agree that geese and barnacle geese will leave Estonia by the end of May, the exact time of their departure depends on weather conditions. “Especially what the weather will be on their migration path,” Tarmo Evestus from the Otepää Nature Center said.

No one can say for sure what the weather will be in the coming weeks. If Elmar Kuus from the town of Põlva told Valgamaalane the weather would quickly start to get warmed and the trees would put forth leaves between May 1-5, Arvi Lepisk from Räpina said that recent developments suggest trees will hold off for a while longer.

“I have not had time to get into it in recent weeks; however, birch and other forest trees do not bear leaf buds yet. Chokecherry and berry bushes are showing the first signs. However, to have the trees put forth leaves by May 5 we would need several days of temperatures of 10-15 degrees. Also at night,” he said.

Lepisk said that it will be possible to start spring farm work in the south of the country only after May 10.

Jaan Rapp tegevtoimetaja
Flocksofbirdsraidingfields
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...