Pests and Diseases forum: Coping with theiving robins

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twitcher
Aug 2, 2013 10:33 PM CST
Netting is so exhausting and a financial drain. Anybody have a solution to keeping robins out of small fruit, such as cherries, blueberries, etc? Right now the birds have just decimated the remains of my blueberries and are working hard on my aronia. The aronia is so productive that I will be able to get a harvest, but I am looking for a better solution than netting or building netted cages. I'm about ready to get a bb gun.

Thanks
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 2, 2013 11:26 PM CST

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Cornell has a comprehensive article regarding bird control at:
[url=www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/ipm/ipmpdfs/byebyebirdiesmallfruit.pdf]www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/ipm/ipmpdfs/byebyebirdiesmallfru...[/url]
in which the American Robin is mentioned specifically.

It includes sections on cultural practices, netting/physical barriers, sensory deterrents, scare tactics, and predator attraction (all starting on page 7). I was particularly interested in the usage of sugar water to combat robins as described on page 9. According to their studies, it reduced the damage by 50% though an increase of yellow jackets and Japanese beetles was noted in the second year of the trial. Hopefully, one of their many suggestions might work for you.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
[Last edited by OldGardener - Aug 2, 2013 11:27 PM (+)]
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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Aug 3, 2013 11:32 PM CST
Old Gardener, Thanks for the interesting article reference. I think I will try the sugar water method next year. Not mentioned before is that I have been using rows of PVC hoop houses to prevent bird damage, but that has been a lot of work and it gets harder for me to do that. This week, I installed a rectangular cage around my cultivated beach plums just starting to ripen. I think the rectangular cage may be easier to work with than the hoop houses. Eventually I want to build a netted enclosure large enough for me to work in but that is some time away.

One other thing not mentioned in the article is that prior to laying eggs, I will remove robin nests from trees in the area when I can find them. I won't bother the ones with eggs - too soft-hearted for that, I guess, but an unoccupied robin nest is fair game.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 4, 2013 7:38 AM CST

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I hadn't even thought about the nests - what a great idea! But I also know what you mean about being reluctant in destroying eggs. Many years ago after the Northridge quake, I had to have extensive work done on my home. Unfortunately, the swallows had already started nesting for the year and the painting contractor was none to happy by having to wait until they had raised their babes and flown off before finishing the job. I did have the nests removed after they (the birds) were gone and they never did return afterwards.

I have had my own struggles using netting (I have wall-to-wall ground squirrels in the spring) so I understand how laborious that becomes. Please let me know how the sugar water works out next year - I really am fascinated by that concept.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

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