watermelon stem damage

something is biting the stem of my watermelon transplants. if anyone's seen this before please do tell me what you learned from the experience. thanks!
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http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/damage1.jpg
http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/damage2.jpg
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dave said:

The pictures (especially #2) remind me of the bird damage I get sometimes on my squash plants. For some reason I get birds pecking at the leaves and stems of my squash. These are usually young bird which will peck at almost anything that has a remote chance of being food. I also suspect that they are inexperienced enough that they may be pecking at something legitimate and missing wildly. (I've directly observed such awkwardness in young robins feeding in my front yard.
Netting over your watermelons (temporarily) will keep them safe from bird juvenile delinquents.
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pat,
birds - now there's an angle i hadn't thought of.....that would explain why none of the plant was actually consumed - just "sliced" along the stem.
out of my 30 or so plants, maybe 8 of them had such damage...amazingly, the damage didn't all happen on the same day - happened over a 3 day period.
i'll definately try putting some sort of protection in place next spring to test the theory - seems every year i get at least a few plants damaged like this.
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after putting some thought into it i think i could best describe the damage as follows:
the stems when observed at close distance - appeared to have been "sliced" at a 45 degree angle, to the depth ranging from surface level to 1/2 way thru the stem.
what type of pest would cause this kind of damage?
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dave said:

Still sounds like birds (based on my experience). Young starlings, to be exact.
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