Bird pecked tomatoes

vance8bJune 10, 2007

I personally feel it's best to compost pecked tomatoes as I worry that the little bird germs might hurt me. I worry that the germs can migrate throughout the interior of the tomato, so I don't want to just cut off the pecked part. It pains me to thow out so many of my tomatoes (over half of them).

Anyone do this? Or not?

Also, in my garden, when I see a tomato turning red, I used to get excited. Now I know that tomatoes turn red for more than one reason. One is that it is just time (the good reason). The even more popular reason is that a bird or worm or whatever has damaged the tomato, so the tomato has given up hope on growing further, so it simply starts to turn red. *sigh* I pull off any damaged/turning red tomatoes and leave them near the plant in the hopes that the birds will pick at those instead of ones on the plant still. I don't know if it discourages the birds from attacking the on-the-vine tomatoes, but they do at least eat all of the tomatoes on the ground.

I have to pick all my tomatoes as soon as I see the first hint of pink/orange/red, as they will be pecked within 24 hours of the first sign of color. Is this a common practice?

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Good Question.

I'd never thought of that. If we're low on tomatoes, we cut off the damaged portion and eat the rest. If we have a lot we let the damaged ones stay in the garden to try to keep the birds and bugs away from the other tomatoes.

I'm not sure if the bird germs would travel through the tomato. Are there an microbiologists on the list that can answer that question?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 1:35PM
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vegomatic(z5 BHSD)

Birds have been a minor problem here. I put a loose baggie over the tomato, that stopped them in their tracks.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 2:20PM
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vegomatic(z5 BHSD)

It might be they're just looking for a drink. Try putting a tray of water out or setting up a bird bath. We have a feeding station with sunflower seed and a few suet blocks. Birds usually leave our veggies alone, but the baggie trick is good insurance.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 2:55PM
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I have multiple bird feeders and 2 bird baths, and my tomatoes (and peppers) are being pecked to death this year. I give what's left of the pecked ones to my dogs, who love tomatoes! I usually hang the red Christmas ornaments on my cages to deter the birds, but didn't this year. Hmmm, I'm starting to think it must have worked in the past. I finally put up bird netting a few days ago, it is working but it is a real pain to then pick your tomatoes!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Last year I tried wrapping the semi-ripe tomatoes with a paper towel held in place with a rubber band. It worked, but was too much trouble. Here in Florida, we get such intense sun that a screen enclosure would provide a little shade and keep birds out. Maybe a screened roof with removable chicken wire sides. Sounds like alot of trouble and materials. I should just plant more.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:31AM
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Hi First post and this is the first time I came across someone else with birds eating tomatoes, yes only red ones! This will be our third year using not bird netting but deer netting, smaller openings. We have a raised bed and in each corner tall pole and the deer netting is draped over entire bed, the netting does not touch tomatoes or anyother veggies and works great. Not a single peck in tomato plants with that system. good luck

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 5:05PM
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Just to chime in...I have the same problem but my tomato culprit is not a's my pug. best friend is a pug canine who loves to grab just the red tomatoes and dash off to eat them! Often times he picks a few then eats just one! I cut off the "teeth" marks and eat the rest! Gross huh? Well,....really...all ripe tomatoes within 1' of the bottom of the plant are "his!"

I am not sure about eating it if it were a bird though! I would say drape a netting over the plants and remove it to pick them! A pain in the butt but better than pecked tomatoes!!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 5:38PM
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My problem is my chickens---they just love the cherokee purples !! they have good taste--They keep the bugs down so I like having them--I bought a roll of 1" X 2" by 4 feet high screen cut about 5 feet of it- ( it stays curved so it fits around the tomato plant) pain to store when not in use---but keeps all birds from eating my maters !!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 8:13PM
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Birds plagued me for years until we visited an old timey place in the wilderness where they had a garden as it would have looked in the pioneer days. In the garden was a length of 1" black rope with white stripes painted every six or so inches...........SNAKE!! So I went to a reptile place and bought a couple nice size snakes and put them in my garden. Scared the sh.. out of my daughter, and a squirrel crossing the neighbor's yard in back of my garden paused, took a long look at the snake and moved on. So far the birds respect it also. Another gardener has posted a big owl on one of his tomato stakes. Whatever works!!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:01PM
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I do mean phony, rubber snakes. I've repainted the white stripes on mine several times since they're out in the weather all the time and about 5 years old.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:26PM
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I cut out the pecks and eat em!
Only time I have ever had trouble with wildbirds pecking my tomatoes was during drought. When water is none existant and food is scarse as a result, they seek any food they can find and any available water, poor things.
For years I have used cheesecloth and white sheets secured with clothes pins to cover my tomatoes (and berries). Easy to lift and get to the fruit and doesn't hinder the growth of your plants.
Only the very resourceful birds figure their way under and around the covers to ge to the fruit.

Funny about the dogs eating tomatoes. I had a Saimese cat named Velcro who just loved tomatoes. For weeks I thought a turtle was getting at my tomatoes on the lower branches, and then one day I happened on Velcro out in the garden just munching down! Funny kitty.

~ SweetAnnie4u

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:34PM
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    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:43PM
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yesterday I picked 8 tomatoes, 7 were damaged and only one made it in the house intact. I don't mind. It seems to happen in bunches. I have a counter with many tomatoes on it, so I won't complain. I like nature. It only bugs me because I would like to leave the tomato on the vine until it is totally red. I'll look into deer and/or bird netting for next year. I have planty of bamboo stakes to hold it up. The snake idea seems easy enough. A bird feeder and a real bird bath might be worthwhile also. My current bird bath is the water tray from a large pot sitting on a five gallon bucket.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:31PM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

I guess I'm lucky not to have much bird-pecking. I have 2 small ponds and one has moving water with stones for birds to stand on. They don't seem too interested in my veggies.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:42PM
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" I cut out the pecks and eat em! " LOL ! I had to re-read that post ! At first I thought you ate the bird !!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 5:39AM
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I have a pond. I have birdfeeders. I have the first ripening tomatoe that something got to before me. I have birds a plenty, and I like them, but I also have tons of squirrels. They seem to be more desperate this time of year. They tend to cultivate for me. We have lots of pecan trees, and although I took what I thought was all of the buried pecans from the beds where my tomatoes grow, I find the squrrels constantly dig holes where they know pecans to be stored. So, although my tomatoe looks like it is damaged by a bird, could it be squirrels instead?

I pose the question that was posed earlier, are animal damage tomatoes safe to eat? Many fruits have their own anti-bacterial properties -- tomaotes have a high acid content. Would this project the consumer?

My tomatoe ripens in the window waiting for the answer!

Heck, I might just brave it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 5:47PM
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Before our current bird-pecking problem (thanks for some solutions, BTW), we had whole tomatoes that would just disappear. One day they'd be just about ready to pick and the next day when we planned on picking them - poof! - they'd be gone. Completely gone!

One day, by accident, we discovered the culprit: our Lab mix pooch. She was quite sneaky about it too. As we peeked out a window from the house, we discovered that she often had at least 1 tomato as dessert after dinner. She'd go out into the garden and sniff each tomato, passing over the green ones and the semi-ripe ones until she found one at the peak of ripeness. Then, she'd carefully, get the whole thing into her mouth and gently tug on it until she dislodged it from the vine. Afterward, we could see that she was quite proud of herself!

She's now passed over Rainbow Bridge and our current dogs show no affinity for the tomatoes. We kinda miss her antics...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 1:05PM
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Fred_in_Maine(Southern Maine)

I have not tried this but I read that tying round red Christmas ornaments to tomato plants is effective. I suppose the idea is that the birds peck at the ornanaments and decide there is nothing good to eat in the garden. So they tend not to return. Has anyone ever tried this?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 5:34PM
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We have the same problem about birds pecking at our red, ripened tomatoes, so my 7 year old daughter had posted notes on twigs to warn off the culprits :-)

It didn't work when the rain hit hard and her notes were reduced limp and unreadable on the ground :-)

We will try the bird bath and feed tray, as well as the rbuber snakes, even the red Christmas decors and see what will certainly help us get our red, sweet tomatoes from our garden to our tables for dinner!

Good luck to everyone, and thank you so much for the helpful posts.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:49AM
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