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Monday, May 21, 2012

Birds Love Our Fruit Trees and What to Do

Bird damage to nearly ripe peach
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.

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.

Grackel ready to pounce on our apricots
            We 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.
            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.


  1. I work for Bird Gard, our products use the birds own language and natural instincts to drive birds away. Digital recording of actual bird distress calls and the sounds of their natural predators are played through high fidelity weather proof speakers. They birds soon relocate to where they can feed without feeling threatened. Bird Gard has been evaluated by lots of universities including UC Davis, Rutgers, Cornell, Michigan State...

    Would you allow me to use the picture of the damaged peach in an ad?

    Thank you,


  2. We did use Bird Guard in the orchard and it does work... for about two weeks. The birds are smart and they soon figure out that its just noise and they start to ignore it. At least our experience has been if you start it a week or so before you are ready to harvest it will scare them away. If you prolong its use for weeks at a time they get used to it. I also think it depends on how hungry the birds are. If this is their only source of food nearby they are willing to take more risk.

  3. Thats my picture from our orchard so yes, you can use it provided it has been properly identified. R. Ll. Morris