I love having birds in my garden- I don't use chemicals of any kind in order to encourage the wildlife... and I don't mind sharing my fruit and vegetables with the birds..BUT...how do i get to keep even SOME of my first decent crop of elderberries?
If the birds are eating it, it means the fruit is ripe, so get out there and pick it. The only other alternative is to cover it with netting if it is small enough.
you could try putting mesh onion bags over the bunches, I made some curtain netting bags for individual bunches of grapes last year as the wasps were getting them. we have lots of birds visiting our garden these days, seems the place to be for them, and consequently haven't had much of a harvest from our berries this year, left the gooseberries to redden more and lost them, probably to wekas, blackbirds have been pecking the strawberries and pinching the red currants as they ripen, now the rain is ruining the raspberries and marionberries. sigh. I draped netting over them but didn't work well. A neighbour is building a monolithic berry house with telephone poles and a huge roll of 10m wide netting, seems like a lot of work and not exactly eye catching, but probably worth it in the long run.
You could try putting a paper bag over them if they need a little more ripening. it works to keep wasps and birds off the grapes. My elder is only flowering now, a different variety I wonder?
No, they are not ripe enough yet, but the birds are eating them anyway. They should be almost black when ripe, no?
I will see if I can get some paperbags in Whakatane tomorrow...they may work, thanks.
Oh, and although the berries are there, the trees are still flowering as well. Seems the wet weather and now the sun and heat may have put them off balance a bit, maybe.
Thanks everyone. I solved it by covering the trees(well, shrubs, really) with frost cloth. The birds can't see the berries, the warmth helps the berries ripen and there are no feathered casualties stuck in nets. It's all good.
Hi Teeli :) love that you considered the risk of the birds getting stuck in the nets.
Much love to you my dear.
Hi Roxy- my elderly neighbour netted her fig tree last year and found several waxeyes dead in the net a few days later. I would hate for that to happen in my garden, she hated it happening in hers, and hasn't used a net since.I don't mind sharing with the birds, (mind you, I think they snaffled more than 75% of my strawberry crop this year)so long as I get some too.
Next year the elderberries will be bigger and have more fruit so it should work out ok in the end.
ROTFL! NOW the little beggars are helping themselves to the tomatoes. Not the cherry type though...the biggest fattest reddest ones! Oh well...at least I ma doing my bit for wildlife, and I planted more than I need , anyway!