Q. What can be done to keep birds from eating all the
fruit in an orchard? My brother has an orchard in southern Utah. There are
about 100 trees, mostly dwarf and semi dwarf. Last year birds got 90% of the
fruit. He has tried scare crows but that didn't work. He has also tried
aluminum foil pie tins but that only worked temporally. Is there any solution
for him other than buying netting to cover the trees? He needs a solution soon
before the birds start feasting on the apricots.
|Bird damage to nearly ripe peach|
A. Fruit usually damaged are the soft fruits; apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, etc. Birds focus on fruit as it starts to build sugar content, mature but not fully ripe.
harvest soft fruit just before they are fully ripe and finish ripening them off
of the trees at room temperature. After they have reached physical maturity for
eating we can then put them in the refrigerator for longer keeping. They will
store better if they are in a humid part of the refrigerator but they still
must “breathe” or they will deteriorate quickly.
|Grackel ready to pounce on our apricots|
We start looking for bird damage and begin our harvesting schedule just ahead of their damage. Otherwise you will have to net the trees.
Scaring devices don’t work more than about one to two weeks and after that the birds are no longer afraid of them. This is true of most animals that are pests to our gardens. The hungrier animals are, the more chances they will take in getting food they like.