Too smart or too dumb?

Young American Robins have a knack for finding gaps in the bird netting of the school vineyard.  First thing this morning there were several under the nets and, after a couple of hours further clipping the nets tighter this afternoon we discovered yet another dozen or so!  It is frustrating to crawl around on your hands and knees, clipping netting tight to return to the same place and find the creatures shrieking in panic.  They are smart enough to get in, but not to get back out.  When you attempt to open a gap for them, they skitter down the row away from you and freedom.  It is quite distressing for bleeding hearts like me.

We took the time to release most of the birds we could detect, but two were so terrified they just couldn’t be coaxed to a gap.  This evening, when either my daughter or my husband return from work, I will get them to return to the vineyard to help me attempt to release the two young Robins.  There were no adult in the netting, did they learn their lesson last year and live through it?

I always thought Robins were strictly carnivorous; worms, bugs, etc., but it seems that is their primary diet during nesting only.  The rest of the time they are quite fond of most berries – grapes included.  As I drove home I was wondering if maybe they need more carbohydrates instead of so much protein as the season begins to change and our grapes just happen to be very convenient.

Further pondering has me wondering if the flashy bird tape tied to the netting might help deter the feathered critters a bit too; it is breezy and sunny enough to sparkle and wave well.  The tape has worked for me on fruiting trees without netting, so might have to ask if that is an option.

Naturally, I was too concerned with releasing the birds to take any pictures of them inside the nets and they didn’t stick around once they were free.  But this is why we need them outside the netting:

No more grapes on this low-hanging cluster!
No more grapes on this low-hanging cluster!

4 thoughts on “Too smart or too dumb?

    1. They will eat whole rows of grapes if they stay inside the netting. That defeats the purpose of planting the grapes. They have lots of natural food sources to sustain them, so ‘feeding’ the birds is ecologically wrong.

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