Ripe fruit is different for the tree than it is to humans. Ripeness to us usually means a color change from green to red, yellow, purple or orange. Taking it a step further, fruit that is ripened fully on the tree will start to be slightly "soft" when squeezed. The bird doesn't have hands or fingers so they "beak" it and go for the jugular. If the fruit does not taste good to a bird, the bird tries a different fruit or fruit from a different tree.
We get really angry when a bird samples several fruits, damaging all of them. Kind of like a child taking a bite out of each fruit you bring home from the store. But a color change can be an indicator to you that harvest time is close. Harvesting a bit early can keep the fruit away from dropping in the wind or from hungry birds.
|Flora Gold apricot on the tree, very tasty looking and "ripe" from the tree's point of view.|
|Flora Gold apricot at the orchard with Brix of 14 but still tart.|
|Refractometer for measuring sugar content.|
Birds use color to indicate ripeness as well, along with a sense of smell and, of course, the beak test. If you want to stay ahead of the birds and fruit drop from the wind, harvest fruit that can develop off of the tree (apricots, peaches, plums NOT cherries, grapes or figs) when you see a color change in the fruit.