“Bird damage is a significant problem in Australia with total damage to horticultural production estimated at nearly $300 million annually.”
Despite not having a passion for gardening, I do have a few fruit trees in my yard. There’s this plum tree that whilst not usually over abundant, does bring me great joy with the little I do manage to harvest. From experience the fruit on this tree is best left until it falls, otherwise there is less of that rich sweetness that is so enjoyable. So this year I waited patiently and watched passers by sneak the odd plum and then all of a sudden, the tree was empty. The mystery is whether this sudden decimation was due to human, possum or bird. Somehow I think it was a combination of all three with a little less human activity… although I have had a few too many people in town tell me how tasty my plums are.
From my little experience of fruit trees, I can say that bird damage is quite extensive. There’s nothing worse than picking up a piece of fruit and it’s got anything from a tiny hole to a large hole in it. It’s just so depressing that the rest of it has to go to waste (or compost). It’s not as if the birds are not wanted and appreciated and realistically i don’t mind them stealing a piece of fruit here and there (… a bit like my neighbours), it’s just that they seem to enjoy eating small amounts from lots of pieces and wasting the rest of it.
I don’t have anything near $300 million of damage but I do recognise the need for a book such as this. I can’t even begin to imagine how disheartening and costly large scale bird damage is to a farmer. This book is quite technical and is definitely written for those with more than a casual tree in their front yard. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry obviously also see a need for this book or they wouldn’t have produced it. I’d be very interested if they ever do a follow up book on Managing Human and Possum Pilfering.