Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Battle with the Birds

Our orchard at Opportunity Farm has been there for decades. In the four and half years since we came we have not eaten a single piece of fruit from it. Long before any fruit is ripe the parrots and cockatoos descend and take a few bites out of each before discarding it to rot on the ground. Cherries, plums, apples all destroyed. Birds win, we lose.
This year looked like it might just be different. In Winter we fenced out the sheep, heavily pruned two apples and planted some new dwarf varieties. In Spring it rained regularly and the fruit started to swell. There was so much to eat in the bush around that the parrots stayed away. One large branch was so laden with fruit - and shocked by the pruning - that it snapped. The apples started to redden and the plums to go blue and I gathered about twenty fallers to ripen in the kitchen.

Coming back yesterday found the trees full of King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas. Today we gathered five buckets of chewed or knocked off fruit from under the branches. The plums are gone but there's a few apples left on one tree but the birds will be back.
This year I have shelves of fallers in the pantry for the pigs and the horses so it seems like a draw. Next year there will be more pruning, some nets and hopefully the dwarf trees will start to produce so just maybe we'll have a win and get to harvest some fruit off the tree.

No comments:

Post a Comment