More Pest Problems: Pigeon-Pecked Pears

2021 has been a poor year for pears on the Plot #79 orchard. Pear trees tend to bloom earlier than apple trees, which leaves them vulnerable to the sort of sharp frosts we had back in May, which wreaked havoc and killed off their blossom before the pollinators got a look-in. As a result we have no pears whatsoever on our ‘Doyenne d’Ete‘ or ‘Double de Guerre‘ trees this year.

I suspected that the ‘Nouveau Poiteau‘ tree – which had a superb year in 2020 and produced some absolutely delicious pears – had gone the same way, until a couple of weeks ago, when I spotted a pear or five, high up in the canopy:

Only a few fruits there, but developing nicely; something to look forward to later in the year. Of course, I don’t know why I bothered getting my hopes up. On closer inspection, they’d already been pecked. All of them. Every single one.

So that’s that, then. Zero chance of any of them ripening without rotting first, most likely right through to the core whilst the outside flesh stays rock-hard.

The prime suspects, of course, are the bastard bloody pigeons. Although… maybe not. Last weekend, Jo and I were at the allotment and spotted a pair of bright green parakeets – members of a colony from a nearby public park, most likely – sitting in the topmost branches of a plot-neighbour’s lofty apple tree, gouging great chunks from the apples with their hooked beaks. After a while they were chased off by a very angry, very territorial magpie and they weren’t there yesterday when we popped down to do a bit of orchard weeding. Magpies one, parakeets nil.

I suppose you can’t blame the wildlife for just doing what wildlife does. In a bumper year, like last year, there’s so much abundant fruit that there’s plenty for all and the odd bit of damage goes largely unnoticed. It’s when there’s a shortage, like this year, that the birds and beasts get a bit greedy and your humble orchardist gets a bit frustrated by nature’s general unwillingness to just bloody share.

Honestly, is that too much to ask?

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