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Protecting fruit trees from birds

 
James Slaughter
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I'm just wondering, what did the orchardist do before the invention of bird netting? Cheers.
 
Billy Nelson
Posts: 16
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In the north Yorkshire countryside, famers position propane-powered canons beside the hedge-rows of grain fields. Those devices run off standard cooking gas cylinders, and emit a loud bang at pre-programmed intervals. They look like short mortar tubes, and do give off a significantly louder report than a shotgun does. Not sure how much those would cost where you are.

Near airports, falcon handlers are employed to keep birds clear of runways, but that would be a far more specialized and labor-intensive method than the propane canons.
 
Luke Prior
Posts: 11
Location: Limousin, France
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I've heard of people putting up cut up pieces o hose pipe in the tree s the birds think there snakes... and also CDs on string
 
John Polk
steward
Pie
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I once read a book on berries that had descriptions of many 'ornamental' trees/bushes that produced (human) inedible berries that the birds often preferred to the 'crop' berries. Seems like a win/win solution. You increase the diversity of your polyculture, which enriches your soil. At the same time, you keep the birds, who eat many of the insects, and provide free nitrogen to your soil.

Birds are an integral part of any ecological system. If we can provide them with their own food system, perhaps we can keep them from eating all of our food.

I'll look for that book, and post some of the recommended bushes.

 
James Slaughter
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Thanks for the info John, seems like a good methodology.
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 65
Location: Council, ID
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To second John's suggestion, I lived at a place that had a lot of mulberries. When the cherries ripened, the birds seemed to prefer the mulberries.
 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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thank you john, i hope you find that list.
 
Justin Hitt
Posts: 32
Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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James,

I've used reflective wind chimes, moving water features, and mirror mobiles. Each needs to be moved around periodically because the birds will get used to seeing them. The mirror mobile (many small round mirrors on string that move in the wind" worked most constantly.

Others have told me that reflective streamers on a post work well and so does inflatable scare eye balloons.

Now that I have a bigger garden I'm setting aside a bird area to plant things that they are welcome to eat away from the beds. Will have nesting boxes near garden areas for birds that eat insects. I've been told that birds are protective of their nests and will keep other birds away.

Right birds in the right local, plus reflective features in the garden should be a good combination. Best thing you can do is make the birds work for you.

Cordially,

Justin

 
James Slaughter
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I just wonder, in like the 1800's or before, what the farmers used to do. To be honest, I think that a lot of their practices before we began to get "modern" are the sort of knowledge that will once again prove invaluable. Weird thing is, I kinda look back at the monks of old, how they saved a lot of the writing and knowledge during times of complete social turmoil. Perhaps this can also be a role that permaculture can play.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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I agree with John Polk. We strive for a whole ecosystems. If possible, grow enough for you and the critters and provide them with choice.
 
Russ White
Posts: 35
Location: north eastern us
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I like the idea about planting enough to share with wild life. In the past people who farmed guarded the plants and would kill or chase off anything that tried to eat what they planted. After all they depended on that food for survival. We today can just go to the store if something gets eaten or destroyed.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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I've tried many of the above suggestions with little success. I mean, noisy, ugly, restrictive adornments ? Netting is far from 100% bird proof, doesn't stop the chipmunks, etc., from getting my blueberries. Plus, I dislike to see birds caught up in the net and the constant freeing of much needed pollinators like butterflies. Personally, I try to naturally attract birds, it wouldn't be a perma. garden paradise without the song and movement of the birds. Good luck with what ever you decide!
 
Tim Southwell
Posts: 116
Location: Hamilton, MT
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bee chicken forest garden
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Is it that important to go such an extent to protect against birds. We have 2 cherry trees which the robins hit on and off this year. We still got two cherry pies, bags and bags of frozen cherries and a dozen jams. Just from two trees. Plant diversity and don't stress it. Good luck.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Think they let the birds have the top part of the trees fruit, and used fishnets to try and keep em out of the bottom section.

Maybe they just used thread.

You can string fishing monofilament all thru the branches. Birds think it is BIG spider webs, and will take off.
 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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i dont worry so much about trees but some of the smaller things like strawberries. I have wee little piece of land so i want to keep some for me.
 
Guy De Pompignac
Posts: 192
Location: SW of France
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J W Richardson wrote:To second John's suggestion, I lived at a place that had a lot of mulberries. When the cherries ripened, the birds seemed to prefer the mulberries.


damn, and how to protect mulberry trees from bird ?

I'm very interested by the list of trees prefered by birds
 
laura sharpe
Posts: 244
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another mulberry?
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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I never had a problem with birds and strawberries but I woud think quality row cover may help or I have been told early in the fruiting season, strategically placed strawberries decoys made of rocks help deter birds. Plenty of info on decoy strawberries online.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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They made a house for a bird of prey
And all the other birds went away
 
James Slaughter
Posts: 94
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Excellent point. Maybe falconry and orchards would work well together, at least rotating them through an orchard as harvest time approaches, pushing the birds back to safer, shrubbier berry type species planted nearby.
 
Joe Proto
Posts: 21
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James Slaughter wrote:I'm just wondering, what did the orchardist do before the invention of bird netting? Cheers.


My uncle hung reflective material such as foil, cut up aluminum cans or CDs to scare away the birds. Also decoy owls might work as well.
 
James Slaughter
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I wonder if perhaps we need to treat our local birds (mainly the introduced species) as another harvestable resource, or else we risk the issue of plague levels (such as starlings). Four and twenty black birds cooked in a pie.
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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I have been told that wrens eat only insects. They are also so territorial that they will drive off other birds. Perhaps wren houses would work?
 
gani et se
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
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Picked blueberries in an admittedly monocrop u-pick setting this year. I asked the guy about keeping bird damage down. He said they had a family of crows living there. The crows don't want blueberries on the bush -- too hard to pick on the winf, and branches too small to support a crow. So the crows keep the little birds out of the couple acre blueberry area, and the grower leaves the dropped berries for the crows, which come before and after the human harvesters.
Course, he wasn't growing grapes. Our grape growing neighbors have the cannons. Annoyingly noisy, I hope they are effective!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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