Berries such as raspberries and blueberries are an important source of nutrients for people. It turns out, birds like eating them as well. If you grow raspberries in your backyard, then chances are, you’ve already noticed birds hovering about the raspberry bushes. Come September, when hedgerows are laden with raspberries, you will often find birds that are there to eat all of your hard work. But, the good news is, there are some things you can do about it.
Why Do Birds Eat Raspberries?
Some plants make use of berries to lure birds as an effective way of dispersing their seeds. A berry-producing plant encases its seed in the luscious, meaty pith, providing vitamins and energy to the birds who eat it.
But, there are other reasons why birds prefer to pick on berries. For instance, Ivy berries have been known to contain calories that are similar to regular-sized Mars bars. In most cases, the seeds pass unharmed through the bird’s intestines while the pith and juice are digested, and they can be deposited several kilometers from the parent plant. It’s no accident that many new trees sprout near fences where a bird may rest.
Turns out, it works out for some plants as well. Some berry seeds, such as juniper, tend to grow better after having passed through the gut of a bird, which eliminates natural compounds that would otherwise inhibit the seed from developing. Other berry seeds, such as mistletoe, are sticky and must irritate birds as they cling to their beak! The birds unintentionally seed new mistletoe plants by wiping their beak on nearby trees.
The majority of berries are either black or red in color. This means that birds are able to spot them easily from the sky. Also, evergreens or plants that produce red berries are easy to spot by birds against a green background, while the plants that produce blackberries are easy to spot once the leaves have turned golden brown or yellow.
How to Prevent Birds from Eating Raspberries?
The following are some ways to prevent birds from getting to your raspberry bushes:
Luckily, there are some ways to prevent birds from eating the raspberries you have planted. For instance, with 7-foot bamboo poles and bird netting, you can quickly erect a bird barrier. The poles may then be brought together to form teepees at the row ends and V-shapes in the center. Then, drape netting over the building and secure it with earth staples.
Flash tape is basically a strip of foil or Mylar tape, which flies in the wind and scares away birds. The birds dislike the tape’s gleam, and since anything that moves effectively keeps birds away, it works just fine when it comes to keeping birds away from your raspberries. However, it should be noted that this is not a long-term solution. Mainly because birds tend to be inquisitive, and if hungry enough, will take their chances, even with the flash tape. In time, the birds will get used to the flash tape and ignore it altogether.
This is, by far, one of the safest ways to keep a larger portion of the berry crop for yourself. You may keep birds from eating the majority of your berries by hanging netting over bushes and make sure you cover all of them. It is also for raspberry growers to use floating row cover frames to provide support netting for the protection of low-growing crops like raspberries from birds. Pop-up screens offered at garden supply stores help cover taller berry plants.
Aluminum Pie Plates
Sure, this one might be new for some folks. But, trust us – it works. The concept behind this approach is similar to that of Mylar flash tape: flashy, moving items will scare away any hungry birds. Simply put a piece of twine through the hole in the pie plate or old CD and hang it near your berries from a fence or post. Most birds will flee if there is movement or a bright light. Because you can use used CDs and used aluminum pie plates, this approach is also a fantastic way to recycle.
For the creative type, there is another fun way of keeping those pesky birds off your raspberry bushes and giving them a good scare in the process. The concept is simple: if birds perceive a potential predator next to the raspberry bush, they will avoid them. This is why garden supply companies provide a variety of scarecrows in the shape of owls, hawks, and snakes that may be used in the garden. When using a scarecrow, always make sure to keep moving it to a new location after every few days to make it seem like it’s real, or else the birds will figure it out and ignore the scarecrow just like the flash tape.
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