Meet The Birds That Can Damage Your Fruit

Every fruit grower, berry farmer, and backyard gardener knows the ravages birds can wreak on their fruit.  But do they really know their enemy, up close?

European Starling

The Common Starling or European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is a serious threat to fruit production.  Its sharp beak and taste for a wide variety of fruit, combined with its tendency to arrive in huge numbers to devour fruit makes starlings a significant threat to fruit growers, vineyards, and gardeners.  

Starlings will devour smaller fruit whole, including grapes cherries, and blueberries, and will attack larger fruit with its sharp beak.  Apples, pears, plums, and peaches easily fall victim to its appetites and numbers, resulting in utter devastation if left unchecked.

Since its introduction to the United States, starlings have taken up residence in the entire contiguous 48 states, presenting a serious risk to fruit-growing and wine-producing regions.  

Like robins, starlings are highly predated upon by hawks, and the presence of hawks is a potent shield against starlings taking up residence in orchards, vineyards, and berry fields.  This makes starlings particularly susceptible to hawk-shaped bird scares like the FruitDefender.

American Robin

The American Robin, Turdus migratorius, is a familiar sight in many gardens and orchards.  Unfortunately, it is also a cause of serious damage to fruit, including apples, peaches, grapes, pears, blueberries, cherries, and plums.  Its insatiable desire for fruit is manifested in peck marks in larger fruit, such as apples, pears, and plums, and in consuming smaller fruit whole, such as cherries, blueberries, and grapes.

American Robins are common year-round throughout nearly the entire continental US, including in prime fruit, berry, and wine growing regions.  They don't hesitate to enter fruit trees and gardens, and will wreak utter havoc on ripening fruit if allowed. 

Fortunately, robins are preyed on by a variety of raptors, including several species of hawks, and as such they are terrified of them.  Robins are highly susceptible to bird scares mimicking hawks, such as the FruitDefender bird-scare hawk decoy.

Grackle (common and great-tailed)

Grackles are prevalent throughout the continental US, and can cause a great deal of damage to fruit.  They also tend to form large flocks with hundreds of thousands of birds, stopping in orchards and vineyards on migration to feast on ripened fruit.
Grackles consume small fruit and berries whole, swallowing blueberries, cherries, and grapes with ease.  They also ruin larger fruit, such as apples, pears, and plums by pecking holes and slashing them with their beaks, causing enormous damage to fruit yields.  

As with robins and starlings, grackles are preyed upon by hawks and fear their presence greatly.  When hawks are around, grackles don't stop in an area to feed, and having hawk-mimicking bird scares like FruitDefender deployed over an area will generally keep grackles away and minimize damage to fruit crops.

House Finch

While cute, house finches, Haemorhous mexicanus, are death on fruit!  They rapidly damage small fruits, such as berries, grapes, and cherries.  With larger fruit, they make small holes that make the fruit unsaleable.  With over a billion house finches in the US, they're everywhere, waiting to damage fruit and ruin gardens.

The good news is, finches are also scared of raptors, including hawks.  The FruitDefender should work well to keep the finches away, too. 

House Sparrow

House sparrows, Passer domesticus, cause extensive and ubiquitous damage to smaller fruit like berries, cherries, and grapes.  They destroy the fruit by pecking them apart, or pecking small holes that make the fruit unsaleable.  Because house sparrows are found over the entirety of the US, they represent a clear and ever-present danger to growers of berries, grapes, cherries, and gardeners.  

Their largest predators include hawks and falcons, and bird scares resembling hawks, such as the FruitDefender, should work exceptionally well to keep them off your fruit and garden.  

Northern Flicker

Flickers comprise a group of birds called Colaptes, and includes many species.  Of particular concern to fruit growers in the US is the Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus, as it inhabits the vast majority of the fruit-producing regions of the US year round.  Although primarily omnivorous, flickers certainly can cause significant damage to fruit, large and small.  Their powerful beaks easily destroy apples, pears, and peaches, and they will occasionally consume smaller fruits also.  

Like other fruit-damaging birds, Northern Flickers are a common prey of hawks and related raptors.  If Northern Flickers are damaging your fruit, consider deploying a quality hawk-silhouette bird-scare like FruitDefender.  They'll most likely pack up and leave!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published