Tuesday, 16 May 2017




Farming for birdlife on Farm Gauchas

Photos and text by Stefan Rust


(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

Mr. Argo Rust, the owner of Farm Gauchas, aims at the least possible mechanical and chemical disturbance to the nature on his farm, by farming as natural as possible.

According to him, this practice is a copy of how nature operated successful ever since: Many animals on a small piece of land for a short period of time. In earlier days huge herds of wild animals used to roam over land, trampling, loosening, fertilizing, grazing, browsing and then moving on and leaving this prepared area for recovery till after about a year later when they came back, everything regrown and fresh. This is how nature maintained itself for millions of years, fauna and flora profiting.
How sustainable this farming practice is, proves the birdlife, functioning as an indicator for the state of health of the farmland. Since Mr. Argo Rust bought this farm, the bird diversity and the population sizes serve as a measuring tool being measured by BirdsConTour. Birds conservation and tourism is registering bird species and their population sizes on Farm Gauchas and figure evaluations prove a radical improvement in diversity as well as a drastic growth in population sizes. Well done!
And while he was explaining his farming practice over a cup of tea on the small farmhouse veranda (12.25 square meter), four different bird species were busily flying in and out the veranda carrying nest material and food, as if they wanted to proof the fact of birds being an indicator of the state of health in a certain area.

Barn Swallows, Cape Sparrows, Familiar Chats and Southern Grey-headed Sparrows were having nests under the veranda, under the roof of this tiny farmhouse. And another species lives in this house, the farmer and some now and then his visitors, bringing it up to five families of different species under one roof, not even addressing all the other species on the rest of this piece of paradise, the natural managed Farm Gauchas.

While being carried away by listening to Mr. Rust talking about his passion, farming with nature, the sudden appearance of a farm worker who pointed to a broken nest up in the tree next to the veranda abruptly stopped the farmer from talking. The strong wind that was blowing, whipped a branch on which a Southern Masked-Weaver nest was hanging from side to side, causing the nest to break. Almost the two halves were apart.


In an united attempt by Argo, the farm worker and BirdsConTour, to save the nest with the three blue and dark spotted eggs, quick action was taken by weaving the two nest parts together again, using pieces of soft wire.

How passionate and caring Mr. Rust is about nature and even the small creatures on his farm, showed the next situation. He brought two chairs, sat on one in a save distance and kept an eye on the repaired nest, hoping for the female weaver to go back into the nest and continuing with incubating her eggs. After quite some time of critically inspecting the repaired nest, she went in back. “These hopefully soon hatching chicks are important for the well being of the ecosystem on my farm, they keep the insect world under control. Without this next generation of birds, farmers might end up with plagues”, said Mr. Rust after this successful rescue.

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