The next day I was cutting grass, and I looked up at the tree, and at first it looked like all the pears were gone, and I couldn't find any under the tree either. I looked closer and saw a few pears remaining at the top, and right next to them sat a raccoon staring right back at me.
I don't know how in the world he cleaned that whole tree in a day. Maybe it was a raccoon party and he was just the last to leave.
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We've had this happen also...at our other home where the pear tree was farther from the house out of sight.
One day full of pears and the next all gone with no trace. We were pretty sure it was a whole family of raccoons that just stripped the tree bare.
Way back, we had some wild hazelnuts we were watching carefully to pick when they were ready...that time we guess it was mice, chipmunks? or some small critter that *knew* when to harvest them just ahead of us...sometimes that happens with blueberries too...a bird peck on the 'almost' ripe ones.
...such a disappointment...raccoons don't understand the meaning of 'sharing'
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Oh I don't know. I've seen some very interesting recipes in "The Joy of Cooking" for racoon. I'm sure they'd share out quite nicely. And there's possum pie, and rat-tatouille...
And those coon-skin caps used to be quite en vogue. I am sure that enough delicious fruit bandits would make one hell of a winter coat.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Another vote for racoons. Many years ago when we still had a pear tree on the farm we had this happen. Dad told me that he was watching the tree and checking every day as it was the first year it had set fruit. Overnight it was stripped clean. A few piles of racoon poop nearby were the only traces of what happened. Sadly, the following winter we had an ice storm and winds that took out that pear tree.
Not all those who wander are lost - J. R. R. Tolkien
Thanks for the replies so far. Raccoons would not be outside the realm of possibility, but I have to say I haven't actually seen any raccoons (even road-kill ones) in the 7 years since I moved to VT. It's possible I am living too sheltered a life.
Travis, I would def. blame birds for the disappearance of—say—berries, but I find it hard to believe they can wipe out two pear trees without a trace of pecked fruit. I don't think they could carry away a 200g pear, could they? We are talking 100% evaporation.
Will look for poop signs, though, and plan for next year (too late to do anything now). A game cam would be in order, if we are still here in the fall, just to assuage my curiosity.
I would like to try making bone sauce and see if that could work. Will report back next year if I go that route.
This is a property "in town" so I hadn't thought about heavy-duty protection measures against wildlife when thinking about larger fruits.
Apples have been untouched, and also peaches were not molested in the least, so the pear rapture took me by surprise.
I have had apple trees stripped of fruit each year, and an entire crop of cantaloupes disappeared one year at the peak of ripeness while away for 5 days. Maybe coons or possums, but I would think they would leave some evidence behind.
In my case, I never did confirm the culprit - could have been human, but unlikely, as I am fairly well off the beaten path.
“All good things are wild, and free.” Henry David Thoreau