Starlings love cherries. So that the harvest is not endangered, the tree must be protected from the birds. We present various options here.
For many hobby gardeners, the cherry harvest is one of the best times of the year. No wonder, because the sometimes sweet, sometimes sour fruits not only have a wonderfully fresh taste, they are also relatively expensive if you want to buy them in normal trade. On the other hand, if you have a well-grown cherry tree in the garden, you have several kilos of cherries available for private use every year, which, apart from a few hours of work, do not involve any costs in picking the fruits. However, when the cherry harvest season begins and the hobby gardener realizes that large parts of the cherry harvest have been destroyed by hungry birds, anticipation can quickly turn into bitter disappointment. There are simple ways to keep starlings and other bird species out of the home garden.
It is primarily important to know what is actually pulling the birds into the cherry tree. For one thing, it is of course the eye-catching signal color of the cherries. The bright red with which the fruits shine in the sun, magically attracts starlings and other birds. In addition, cherries are relatively easy prey. The fruits hang high up in the tree top and on the various branches, are easily accessible and can be reached quickly and easily by birds that settle on the branches of the cherry tree. In addition, cherries provide a lot of nutrients and are also extremely delicious - also for the taste of starlings. And of course, if there is not a person nearby, starlings can usually loot the cherry tree unhindered - because the star around the cherry tree has no fear of natural enemies. All this makes cherries a favorite destination for starlings and other birds in search of food.
"By the way: If your tree has so far been spared bird feed, you do not necessarily have to take preventive measures. But when a tree is "discovered" by a flock of birds for the first time, there is a risk that these birds will come back every year to harvest the tree again.
What exactly needs to be considered if you want to protect your cherry tree from starlings?
If you want to protect your cherry tree from starlings, you should definitely pay attention to a few points. On the one hand, starlings are also living beings and cruelty to animals is prohibited in Germany. Even if you, as the proud owner of a cherry tree, can feel a certain anger when birds tamper with the cherry harvest, you have to be careful when choosing the means to use against the birds that the animals are not come to harm. In addition, bird damage does not automatically damage the cherry tree. Overripe fruits that burst due to the high moisture content can ruin the harvest. In addition, there is always the risk that the cherry fruit fly will overwhelm your tree population and your cherries will become mad. It is therefore important to first check whether the damage to the cherry harvest was really caused by birds before considering which countermeasures are the most sensible.
In addition, you have to try out different ways to keep starlings away from your own cherry tree. The common instinct unites the animals, but that does not mean that all animals react equally in every situation. A measure that works for a while does not necessarily have to keep the birds away forever. So it is important to keep the following things in mind:
- First, you should check what exactly caused the crop damage
- If they were really birds, the birds must not be harmed by any countermeasures
- Not all birds respond equally to every method of deterrence
- You should always check whether your method works from time to time
- Sometimes you have to combine two or three common methods to be really successful
Promising measures against starlings
There are six ways to keep starlings effectively and as gently as possible from your own garden or cherry tree. We would like to present these in more detail below:
What the farmer does in the field also works partially in the cherry tree at home. Starlings are terrifying birds that can be put off by other animals in the tree. Old cuddly toys or classic small scarecrows made of straw with appropriate clothing and a hat are ideally suited as scarecrows. The problem with this - one or more scarecrows in the tree are no guarantee that the birds will stay away permanently. Because some birds are quite capable of learning and "understand" that the scarecrows pose no danger. When the time comes, the animals just come back and ignore the scarecrows.
Ignoring it is much more difficult for birds and especially starlings with colored ribbons hanging in the tree. Because these distract the, as mentioned, terrible birds quickly, so that they are more concerned with keeping an eye on the tapes than devoting themselves to the cherries. Above all, the fact that bands change shape quickly in the wind and are always in motion makes these small aids more effective than a generally motionless scarecrow.
The birds become even more distracted if not only colorful ribbons, but also glittering mirrors or reflecting objects such as hang these pendants in the tree. The light that is reflected in the reflecting objects disturbs the birds immensely and prevents a quiet feast in your cherry tree. Many starlings are so frightened by the sparkle and glitter that they will not even approach your tree. Of the three mentioned so far, this method is probably the most effective because the flashing light is not something the starlings get used to. As long as the mirrors or CD's are bare enough to effectively reflect incident light, however weak, they will also efficiently protect your tree from flocks of birds.
Starlings also respect larger birds of prey. If you put the dummy of such a bird of prey in your cherry tree, it will keep a lot of birds away. However, this measure also only works as long as the birds have not noticed that they are lifeless figures. If you keep your dummy bird of prey permanently attached to the same branch or if the dummy tends to tip over and hang down from the branch in light winds, it will hardly have a really deterrent effect on predatory birds that have chosen your cherry tree as a harvesting area.
There are also devices such as this one that reacts to movements in the tree with noise. Others are connected to a timer and emit corresponding noise at certain times. Depending on the set noise and the programmed volume, this can also disturb you or your neighbors in the garden. If you decide to use such a remedy, you should definitely choose a tone that comes naturally and has little disruptive effect - the warning call of the starlings, for example, is a tune that works well to get rid of starlings and has a more natural note than some high-frequency sound that scares the animals away like you and your neighbors.
If you want to fight off the starlings as effectively as possible, you cannot avoid using your cherry tree. However, with this type of bird control, it is important to ensure that no birds or other animals are harmed. For this reason, the network must never be too coarse. A mesh size of more than 30 mm is not recommended, since if the mesh is too large, there is a risk that birds get caught in the net and die miserably. If the net reaches down to the ground, for example, moles or hedgehogs can get caught in the net and die as well as birds caught in the net. So it makes the most sense to attach the net so that the entire tree crown is wetted in smaller trees and, for larger trees, individual parts of the tree such as spreading branches, for example. It is particularly useful to choose the mesh size of the net so that the net not only protects against birds but also against harmful insects - this requires a mesh size of less than 1.8 mm. With such a network there is also no danger that birds or other animals could get caught in the network.
You also have to pay attention to the quality when choosing a bird network. There is little point in deciding on a very inexpensive model that shows the first holes after a few days, because the protection is then only very limited. If a bird can penetrate the net quickly and easily, it will not keep large flocks of birds for long. In this respect, if you opt for the bird net variant, you should definitely rely on a high-quality net.
There are a number of good and inexpensive ways to keep starlings out of your cherry tree. Just make sure that the birds are not unnecessarily damaged and keep an eye on your cherry tree in between. If you find that the method you have chosen does not work, you should simply try something new. If you have kept your cherry tree bird-free for a complete harvest season, chances are that the animals will not come back so quickly, but will look for other feeding places where they can get their food more easily.