Subject: Birds and blueberries, sadness.
applestar wrote:Oh bummer! I was going o say didn't you have a mesh berry house I admired before....
I really really want to build one -- I've made do with arched frames and bird netting, but something rips the netting up -- squirrels? GroundHOG? And then the birds get in anyway AND GET TRAPPED INSIDE. I've had dead and mummified chipmunk stuck in the bottom of the netting, too, and one time a young bunny got caught up in it, and even though we rescued it and took it to a rehab center, they told us it would probably die from the fright.
Anyhow, what I want to do is eventually make a large aviary like structure AROUND the berry bushes. Right now blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (and cherries) are all planted in different parts of the property. I'll have to decide if I want to make one huge structure and plant/transplant inside, or smaller individual structure around each kind of tree/shrub.
The bird netting for blueberries -- I started out with plastic soda bottle topped bamboo stakes holding up bird netting draped over, with some scrap lumber holding down the bottom edges. I quickly learned that any berries that stuck out of the netting or close enough to the netting were fair game to the birds. No matter what I did, wind would move the netting around and blueberries constantly poked out of the netting. Sometimes they got pulled right off by the wind thrashed netting. This was when the chipmunk and bunny got caught in the excess lying around on the ground, and groundHOG would regularly rip through making giant holes.
I upgraded by using PVC hoops to lift the netting away from the bushes, but I made the hoops too low so that you had to crouch in there to pick the berries, which was OK for that season because my kids were still small and were comfortable, but it was a bear to pick them myself. And the draped netting on the ground still posed problems that year.
In addition, removing the netting during the off season to avoid entanglements left the blueberry bushes unprotected from winter hungry rabbits that nibbled down significant portions of the blueberry branches and killed one of them. They also considered new blueberry shoots a tasty treat in early spring, too.
My solution next year was to surround the blueberry bed with permanent 24"H chicken wire fence and securing the bottom of the netting along the top of the chicken wire by threading a nylon cord all the way around. I used two arched trellises with nylon cord strung between them to create 6 ft high netting support, and made one end of the arched tunnel open with plenty of extra netting to create generously overlapping flaps that could be unsecured and opened relatively easily. This worked for another couple of seasons.
But as mentioned above, the netting was still getting ripped by something on occasion, and birds would get in or get entangled and had to be rescued. When they got the netting really wrapped around on them, I ended up cutting the netting to extricate them, with the result that my big netting has too many holes everywhere to be effective this year, and I went without because I REALLY REALLY want to move on up to galvanized metal wire mesh covered aviary type "berry house".