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Knowledge Center

Knowledge Center

Information about our company and articles

5 October 2023

Preventing bird damage in apples and pears

Preventing bird damage in apples and pears

Apples and pears often suffer less from insects than soft fruits. But unfortunately, birds don't leave the fruit alone. How can you prevent bird damage to apples and pears? Read the answer in this blog.

Shooting birds or are there alternatives?

The easiest solution would be to reduce the bird population. However, you can't just shoot birds. So, what are the alternative fruit protection methods?

  • Catching birds with trap cages

In some provinces, birds can be trapped using cages. Often, a bird is already in the cage, which attracts more birds. Afterwards, you're allowed to kill the birds.

The problem with these cages is that you can't set them up when your harvest is "ripe". Because when your harvest is ready, you don't want to catch 10 birds while the other 100 still eat your apples and pears. You might attract more birds to your orchard with a trap cage.

  • Scaring birds away with acoustic sound systems (audio system)

There are also acoustic bird deterrents available. You can set them to a sound that will drive birds away from your orchard. You'll need several devices to protect an orchard spanning multiple hectares. An acoustic bird deterrent costs around €3,000 each!

Birds are smart and eventually, they realize the sound is fake. Fortunately, this isn't the case for all orchards and fruit growers.

  • Scaring birds with loud bangs

There are also special noise-making devices. The cannon produces a loud bang that startles birds, making them fly away. It works well. Check the specific laws and regulations here.

Often, your neighbors won't appreciate it.

  • Scaring birds with bird-of-prey kites

Bird-of-prey kites can also deter birds. When it's windy, you should bring the kite in. The kite needs to be moved regularly for maximum effectiveness.

  • Scaring birds with the reflection of CDs

You can also try to scare birds with CDs. The reflective surface deters them.

Birds can get used to the reflection. And as the saying goes, when one sheep crosses the dam, others follow.

Above, I've described 5 options that can address bird problems. But which is the best method? Birds often adapt quickly. You could combine different methods.

The Dutch government offers a compensation scheme. In some cases, 60% of the bird damage is compensated. This only applies to protected bird species. In practice, this is hard to pinpoint because not always the same bird eats the fruit.

  • Preventing bird damage with hail nets

What don't birds get used to? And how can you permanently keep birds out of your orchard? How can you protect your apples and pears from birds? Hail nets are the proven solution to keep your orchard bird-free. With a hail net system, you can cover your entire orchard. Installing hail nets has pros and cons. Read about the disadvantages of hail nets here.

In conclusion

Is there something missing in this article or do you have additions? Let me know!

WATCH TIP #1 I read this article on the website of "Hart van Nederland". Birds ate hundreds of thousands of pears from fruit grower Marcel: "A disaster." The cost ran up to €80,000. Nobody deserves this, especially not fruit growers who work day and night to produce the best fruit!

WATCH TIP #2 Watch a video about the Flat Hail Net System over an existing orchard here.

Rick Mudde - English

Rick Mudde

Product specialist fruit canopies

My mission is to help as many fruit growers as possible get a good harvest.

So that fruit damage can be prevented, no delivery problems occur, and fruit growers can harvest successfully!