Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blueberry Bluejay

The mosquito net I draped over the blueberry bush in July didn't have the effect I had hoped for.  It seemed to attract, not prevent birds---and several species at once---in different combinations of bluejay, robin, mockingbird, cardinal, bluebird, towhee, finch, wren, and chickadee.  At one point I counted eight birds inside the net.  Even greedy squirrels took advantage of the unexpected opportunity.

They all made gluttons of themselves right in front of me, unabashedly selecting only the ripest berries.  The squirrels rolled them around in their paws and might as well have smacked their lips.  The birds lifted their beaks, opened their throats, and glug-glug-glugged.  The bluejays called, "Caw! Caw!  Fruit eaters, come one, come all!   A nice lady put something over the blueberries to protect us from hawks!  Eat your fill, free of worry!  Too good to be true!  Plenty for all!"   

When I went near, they flapped their wings against the net trying to escape, making a case for entrapment.  I did have the decency to feel a twinge of guilt.   Eventually they all found their way out, and within a few days, it did work, because they stopped coming.  We got tons of berries for about two weeks and the bushes were still loaded.

After four pies, compared to last year's one without the net, I was feeling quite virtuous----until a fuzzy fledgling bluejay got caught in the net one afternoon, crying and flapping himself to exhaustion.  Even though I opened one side of the net to let him see his way out, he couldn't figure out that he needed to fly down, not up.  After about an hour of hearing his cries and flaps from inside the house, I could stand it no longer and went out to remove the net, but not before taking a picture of the poor thing.  His chest and shoulders were heaving with fatigue.  I'll not put the net out next year.  The bush has berries enough to share with those who need them more than we do.  dkm


Jane Robertson said...

This is a lovely post.

I'm so glad the young bluejay got out safely. What a story to tell his/her family!!!

I love the photos with their grey-green, soft lavender tones.

I am hugely envious of your blueberry 'tree' (almost). It's something I have always struggled to grow here. Raspberries and black/red currants do better.

I too lose a lot of fruit to birds and like you I have come to the point of enjoying the sharing. I'd rather lose the fruit than the birds!!

dkm said...

Raspberry envy here!

Ellen said...

I have concluded that my blueberries were always intended for the birds. And so it is.