The Birds & the Berries

Wren house

Wren house

One thing I’m learning lots about is birds in the garden. Lots of gardeners fight with birds over berries, but there are a few tricks (passed down from my great-grandmothers) to get the birds to actually work for and with you.

Tip number one is to put wren houses near your strawberry patch. The wrens eat insects, not berries. They’re extremely territorial and will chase other (berry-eating) birds right out of your patch for you.

Then there are cherries. To avoid having your cherries eaten by the birds, plant a mulberry tree near them. The mulberries ripen at the same time as the cherries, and since birds like mulberries better than cherries, your cherries will be safe(r). Extra points if you can place the mulberry at the end of your chicken run as well, so that the chickens can feast on the fallen fruits. Sheep like mulberries, as well.

Last tip is to always leave at least one big old thistle growing in your garden. Goldfinches line their early spring nests with dandelion down (and also eat the dandelion seeds.) If thistle fluff is available later, they’ll use it to re-line their nests & raise a second brood. “Why are goldfinches important?”, I asked. “Beauty needs no reason.”

4 Responses to “The Birds & the Berries”

  1. Brad says:

    My goodness that picture evokes Virginia in the summer. I hadn’t realized what a difference little things like place-specific plants and quality of light can have. Made me feel as if I were back at Windy Hill in Greene Co. Your great-grandmothers’ tips are fascinating. My maternal grandmother had a big mulberry tree near the chicken house – now I know why! Sometimes the fallen berries would sort of ferment and the bumblebees that fed on them would get drunk. I am told that my uncle Joe tried to make mulberry wine and succeeded in blowing up several bottles. Happily, he did not choose vintner as a possible profession.

  2. JoAnn says:

    I found this so interesting. I’m currently trying to keep crows out of our young cherry trees (covered them with tulle netting); and rabbits out of the strawberry patch & the blueberries, if you have anymore tips!

  3. chicken coop says:

    What a hot topic to choose, good reading.

  4. chicken coop says:

    very helpful post, cheers!