Birds vs Raspberry, Blackberry

Do birds eat a good portion of your raspberries or blackberries? Am debating putting a permanent wire mesh roof on my existing berry enclosure. This will be first year of production.

At my former farm the mockingbirds took every last blueberry before I netted. But am reading blackberries and raspberries MAY be less attractive. True?

We had blackberries from Home Depot that were small. Looking at past videos they looked like the wild blackberries people show. Every year I was disappointed because the birds would get to them super easily and they were so small. We then planted raspberries and the birds did not target the raspberries but only my Ann really fruited. This year I planted Prime Ark Freedom blackberries. We got a nice harvest first year with them being primocane fruiting, no birds attacked them, they were big and they tasted amazing. I wish I had done research on types of blackberries before buying the first time because I think the size of berry matters to the birds in my experience and of course when cultivating big size is nice. I dissed blackberry plants for years after the first planting but can see how nice a good cultivar is now.


Over the past 6 to 7 decades, I’ve not observed much loss to birds until the last dozen or so years.
Those folks that think birds are about to go extinct…may themselves go extinct from starvation as the birds consume more and more of the fruits raised in America!


I’ve not had bird problems in my raspberries. Something goes after the blackberries, but the deer are a bigger problem in both.

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Then ;be happy is all I can say.

For the last three years I’ve had to net my black raspberries. I used to share with them until the birds decided not to share with me.

It took them several years to get that greedy. I’d leave for work thinking those will be ready tonight, when I came home they were gone. A few too many days of this convinced me to buy some netting.

They don’t seem to attack the reds, yellows and blackberries as bad.

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Depends on how you have them trellised. Birds will eat more berries where there is a perch within reach of the cluster. Last year had some red raspberries eaten near the fence top rail, none eaten elsewhere in the row.

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Only on my thornless blackberries do the birds eat them. And the more thorny the berries the less predation from birds and insects. They tend to eat a few boysenberry and newberry on the very top.

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They prefer blackberries to raspberries here. It’s mostly catbirds that are the problem. Robins which also go after blueberries tend to ignore blackberries and raspberries.

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From a well known book:

Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food.

We dont let that happen anymore.

Uh, yeah, look at the bird seed aisles at America’s biggest store. The balance of predators and the birds has been artificially messed by humans.

From that same book, “the lion shall eat straw like the ox” and the child shall play in the snake den and not be hurt! God speed that day! (Can’t be too many years off now.)

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We need birds more than they need us. In our quest for 8 billion then 9 billion humans… we have amnesia to co-existing.

Birds are a curse just like squirrels…or deer…if there are too many of them!

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Needing birds and letting them run rampant in our orchards are two separate things.


With the exception of maybe hummingbirds which are great pollinators we likely don’t have as much need as we used to for birds or squirrels. Now days we buy improved cultivars of fruits or veggies and will buy the flowers/seeds we want to grow. Our big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes as well as plant nursery are the new and improved way we get plants now. Most people who see a random plant growing in their yard will pull it. Your average person is not a trained forager so will not be able to tell the difference between plants. If you want to start a tree from seed a seed of many things like a peach tree will not be hard to get or grow. One time just for fun I planted peach seeds in the fall in the pit to see if they would come up in the spring and they did.

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I know this is a fruit growing forum. We each have our gardens and orchards that we consider to be ours and ours alone. We each have our dislike of birds, insects, herbivores. I have read many ways on this forum in the quest for our own harvest to remove them. By removing their food sources we all do our own part in starving them and challenging them to seek alternate food sources…and as someone mentioned we have also removed predators. With lack of predators and lack of food, illness and disease become a factor.

Currently there are outbreaks of avian flu that are newsworthy… the harm that we do to wild birds and our hatred towards them which leads to starvation and disease is spreading to our own food sources.

As this progresses and evolves its likely that we as humans will suffer more than the birds. Our amnesia forgets that in 1918 an avian influenza killed 21 million of us… Some people called it the ‘Bird Flu’.

My garden of Eden has walls. Without the wolf i must become the wolf. I am too lazy to do his job so the deer and rabbits are problematic.

My garden of Eden has no roof or no nets. Thanks to the previous wolves there is habitat and forest for birds to live and thrive. Thanks to my lack of mowing and creating pristine landscaping the birds have created food for themselves as they migrate and bring seed to my land. They have little or no interest in my fruit… the things they plant have small fruits and seeds which i do not have much interest in.

Personally this is not why growing things interests me.

As Above, So Below…or so they say.

So basically we have no right to deny them anything we grow?

Just because you seem to be lucky not to have bird pressure it doesn’t mean it is not a problem for others. I’m in Alaska, On just about all my fruit I have negligible insect pressure, the biggest insect problem I had on my apples where ants farming aphids on a singular apple tree (Kerr). I guess I could get all high and mighty about how people should not spray anything on their fruits because I don’t have to. Birds on the other hand… If I don’t net I would have a total of 0 haskaps and 0 saskatoons. I usually forget to net my strawberries and do get 0 of them.

If your hobby is to feed birds I’m happy for you. Do keep in mind that they are not ignoring your fruit because they have other food sources but because the particular birds in your area just happen to prefer something else. All it takes is a slight migratory pattern change and you won’t see another fruit unless you net them.


I grow for both me and the birds; for berries have lots of Winterberry and American Holly plus oaks, cherries, willow that host caterpillars so critical for hatchlings. Prof. Doug Tallamy (excellent book: Bringing Nature Home) estimates it takes 3,000 caterpillars to feed just one clutch of Chickadees to fledging stage. Opened my eyes. And I raise bluebirds- probably 5,000 in my lifetime. Great fun to have them around. They love to hang out and hunt in the orchard, bringing this back around to fruit.


Here it is the migratory bastard robins that can wipe out an orchard in hours. And it is not for lack of food sources, we don’t have just mountains of wild blueberries, we have mountain ranges full of them. So are all sorts of other wild things that grow on forests the size of other US States. Some birds just prefer haskaps, saskatoons, and strawberries. And no, they can’t have them because they are the ones that has no concept of sharing.

If you are into bird watching here is the checklist for the Palmer hay flats, not far from my house

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I’ve seen about the same as @PharmerDrewee in terms of bird preferences on raspberries and blackberries. The catbirds may take a few raspberries, but not enough to worry about. Raspberries and Carmine Jewel cherries are pretty much the only things I can get away without netting here. But they will do pretty good damage to blackberries, including taking almost all of them from my small patches if there is nothing else around the prefer at the time. My local bird population’s order of preference seems to be blueberries, mulberries, blackberries and strawberries (tied) and then finally raspberries and Carmine Jewel cherries (tied). I think it is the higher acidity before ripe that makes them less interested in the cherries and raspberries since the less sour Juliet cherries seem to get a lot more attention from the birds.

I’ve tried the shiny tape, plastic snakes and hanging old CDs, but those don’t seem to do a whole lot if it is a high value treat like blueberries or mulberries.