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Tomatoes and birds......

Posted by kudrzycki AZ (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 16, 08 at 20:26

Hi all,

Having fun with our first tomatoe "crop." The 4 pots are loaded with fruit and the plants are thriving. We were told green worms would come and so far....2 have and we check daily for that. But now we're told as soon as the fruit turns reddish the birds will steal our fruit. We have several large black birds that fly through the yard. I feel like they check our plants as often as we do.

Is picking the fruit when it's not quite ripe (pink)a reasonable solution in terms of taste? Has anyone had luck securing strips of foil or pie tins secured above the plants to deter the birds? Is it a foregone conclusion birds will try and eat the fruit?

Thanks for your help! This is all very interesting.

Joanna


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Kabooom....no more birds! Ha Ha Ha....They never bother mine as they prefer raspberries over tomatoes.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I've never had a single bird steal any of my tomatoes, cherry or beefsteak. And I have plenty of birds. But part of it might have to do with climate and what is available to the birds in nature. Arizona birds might be hungrier than Maryland birds. If you are worried try bird netting.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I put a plastic snakes....thats PLASTIC snake on top of the cages or in the fruit trees and it works pretty good. DT


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Hello , I do not have trouble with black birds , mostly Mockingbirds.I have tried foil , ornaments,leaving water for them and they still get my tomatoes. Picking while still near green(pink flush starting) works well. Taste as good as vine ripe to me.Just my opinion. I also have bird netting that works real well but is a pain to install over huge plants.Also, sort of ugly.I would not say it is a forgone conclusion but they bother mine somewhat every year. Hope this helps.
CDGTXS


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I've tried Christmas ornaments too..seems to work for a lil while but they figure it out sooner or later..
So I went out and bought and owl..not the real kind..but one of the ones from a home improvement center..it looks real enough and the head bobbles around. IT worked.. Worked wonders for the squirrels too..though they just dug lookin for pecans and didn't bother my toms.

Happy Gardening.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Gosh, I've never had a bird even look cross eyed @ my plants (now my cherry trees are a whole long story, lol) I get the big black birds, Jays, Robins, and of course the (rat on wings) starlings........not so much as a peck, SO FAR,(I have to say that, just to keep the jinxes away)

What about bird netting? It's not terribly expensive and would be worth it (for me) to let them ripen where nature intended........


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I put sort of a fence around my garden to keep cats and dogs out of my garden. Rebar and plastic mesh that is 4 X 50. I keep the scrap pieces around and attach it around fruit that is blushing with clothespins. After I have harvested I can move it to another plant if necessary. Mockingbirds are my problem


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Had a feeling the foil idea wouldn't work. Maybe we'll try a plastic snake on top of one and bird netting on the others and see which one is most effective.

Thanks for your ideas everyone...good luck to all!


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Had problems for years with the cactus Wrens, after about 3 years, I built a hoop house and this year I enclosed it with chicken wire. Guess the red/pink is too much like the cactus fruit.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I have had birds get after my BeefMasters during dry spells and times of severe drought. I was selling produce at the farmer's market. Boy was that cutting into my sales, but the poor birds. I felt so sorry for them.
They even pecked at the green ones as the drought that summer continued. Devastating for all!

I gave them feed and kept cool water out for them.
I tried making floating covers out of cheese cloth or sheets but eventually the birds figured out how to fly under them to get to the fruit...and they always got the biggest, reddest, best tomatoes. Tomato connoisseurs these birds! I just cut out the bird pecks and ate them anyway, but my customers wouldn't do that.

I would rather let them vine ripen, myself.

In years of normal rainfall and temps I don't have bird problems with my tomatoes.

~ sweetannie4u


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

  • Posted by rexx CA 9-10 (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 21, 08 at 18:11

Interesting, annie. I hadn't heard of a correlation between drought and bird problems. I really despise birds, but I might try a birdbath if I have a problem with them again this year. I suppose that won't help with their incessant early-morning chirping, but maybe it will spare my precious crop.

If not, I think I may be able to train my dog to stand guard.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I had the same problem in 1999 growing tomatoes in Jersey during a severe drought. In the 20+ years growing for market there, it was the only time birds pecked my tomatoes all up.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

If you grow your tomatoes as I do you can cover them without too much trouble. My 7 poles are tee pee style with a pole at the top.
Three bamboo poles on each side, and a pole at the end. Tied to a bamboo pole across the top.

See my Flicker Photo.

Karyl
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Here is a link that might be useful: Flicker photo's tomatoes, Protect from Everything.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

The drought theory and bird pecking seems to carry water...so far the birds aren't intersted in the ripening fruit but they're kind of hidden under the other leaves. We bought some netting but hubby wants to see if the birds actually start bothering the plants.
Appreciate everyone's thoughts. Amazing how much fun this is!


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I always have a few pecks here and there in my tomatoes, but I just consider that I am sharing with the birds. The frustrating part is they only make one or two pecks then move on.

As for bird netting - I only used it once over some strawberry plants and when I had to pull the dead birds out of it that had gotten their feet caught and couldn't free them, I decided I would give up growing strawberries.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

We have trouble with birds eating our tomatoes. Last year, we only had one plant, but it still got eaten, they went for just about every tomato on there. We had a little fake bird from a christmas ornament, and put it next to the plant and didn't have anymore trouble. This year we have alot more tomato plants and I'm trying to figure out a way to keep them all away. We found some more fake birds at garden ridge, but because of the price, we're trying to use cds to keep them away (they don't like shiny stuff)


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

We got pecked! Was checking the tomaters and the birds got a couple of the green ones. Thought for some reason they would go for more ripened fruit. So up went the bird netting and I molded scary foil shapes on top of the poles for extra measure. Here at the tomatoe bowl, the score is Home: 3, unwanted visitors 2.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

We always have trouble with the mockingbirds. Others like Carolina Wrens and Cardinals inspect the plants everyday for insects and actually help so I don't put netting over them. Best solution for us is to have several tomato plants. And it seems we always have more tomatoes than we can eat and have plenty to share with neighbors.

I tried to make peace with the mockingbirds last year by planting them their own special treat, a jelly bean tomato plant. I saw them happily eating the jelly beans but it didn't stop them from taking bites of our other tomatoes. It's OK though. Their singing makes up for the trouble. Except when the yearly crop of baby birds grow up and start learning to sing. Ever heard a juvenile mockingbird learning to sing? Folks, it ain't pretty.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

opal52, now that's creative giving the birds their own plant. ;-)


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I have used black polypropylene for years. The birds do nt get close to it here. They seem to know what it is. They don't s;eal the maters. They just peck holes in them.. And I have NEVER had a bird trapped in it. My dog ..yes..nosy critter he is.

CrAzY LaRrY


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I've had no problems with birds until this past weekend. The first few brandywines started changing color and the birds got two of them. They didn't bother the viva italias or tumbers. I'm assuming it's birds. The eaten area was about the same size bite I take out of an apple. I hope it isn't a rat. I'm going to hang some CDs off a few branches. I moved a big plastic owl next to the tomatoes, but it doesn't seem to bother the birds. Maybe since we don't have many or any owls in hawaii. No snakes either so I'm not sure if that'll work.

Someone in my house is trying to help me out 'cause I saw a brown paper bag taped loosely around a couple tomatoes. Anyone think that'll pose a problem?

rika


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

  • Posted by farkee 10 B South Fl. (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 10, 08 at 1:06

I clothespin a small square piece of newspaper over tomatoes if I am having a big problem. The clothespin is not so tight that it restricts the stem. I also leave out tomatoes I don't want high up on a platform.

I have had tremendous bird damage for years and then last season not a bit of trouble. In previous bad years there was awful drought leading credence to the looking for water theory.

I have posted these before:

Do I want water or a tomato? Pecked the tomato.




Don't worry , I love birds, no birds were harmed. (I actually contrived that shot--wanted him to ham it up for the camera.)


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

Try putting an old knee-hi nylon over each tomato. The sun will still reach the tomatoes but the birds will be confused by the different texture and color of the tomatoes.

Next year, plant mostly white and yellow varieties. Birds won't touch white or yellow raspberries and I expect it's the same thing with tomatoes.

Whatever you do, don't sprinkle hot/red/cayenne pepper to deter them. I tried that one year to repel ants but learned that it ATTRACTS birds - they love red pepper and it aids their digestion.

Good luck!


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I haven't had bird damage since I did three things.

1. Put up a bird feeder that encourages several species to visit the yard. Seems to make it neutral territory.

2. Encouraged Robins and House Wrens to nest nearby the plant area. They let me walk within a few feet of them.

3. Put in a birdbath so they could have water and a bath. Some will do their thing with me six feet away.

The House wrens and Robins nested within 10 feet of each other and gave me about 8 weeks of no other birds messing around the tomatoes while the toms were little green things. I am always amazed to watch those little wrens chase off a big Bluejay, Blackbird, or Mockingbird. And the robins are big enough to back up their commotion. They're done nesting and now, I have Catbirds, Robins, and a host of smaller birds that visit my birdbath each day.

Best of all, not the first damaged tomato. The wrens kept the place nearly insect free. The robins still come to hunt for bugs and worms. I've got one that I threw an earthworm to a few weeks back. The bird looked at me and then the worm and then me, and then took the worm. Now it shows up every time I go to the garden. Talk about learned behavior.

Maybe the critters are just thirsty or maybe they think the red tomato is the "biggest cherry they've ever seen"., but I think my good luck is in the nesting thing that seems to declare an area as staked out by the nester and all who cross the line will be chastised. The other birds were chased off enough that they've decided they don't want to do that any more. (I guess that's more learned behavior.) Just MHO.


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I don't have much of a bird problem, just a little damage here and there. I did try many ways which have been memtioned above. So far, none of them worked. (No, I did not try the kbooooom method).

I also tried ultrasonic, didn't work.

I got a recording of "Sounds of Birds of Prey". If ever I get too much damage, that's what I will try next.

dcarch


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RE: Tomatoes and birds......

I'm a little hesistant to bring in more birds with a feeder or bath, but getting the right territorial species in the area might just do the trick. Thanks!

Ultrasonic and now "Sounds of Birds of Prey." LOL! That's creative. Don't attract any predators that'll fly off with your plant :)


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