Birds must have taste buds because they like the grapes the same way we do – ripe. They don’t begin eating the grapes until they develop sugar. Our two biggest fowl fans are quail and turkey. Years ago, they ate all the grapes in 2 full rows, about 200 vines!
Although both species fly, they prefer to walk. We discovered that if we wrap the entire perimeter of the vineyard in reusable plastic bird netting and drape about 2 feet on the ground, they will not enter the vineyard. They won’t walk on the netting.
Fortunately, they haven’t discovered that if they flew up and forward about 8 feet they could eat the entire vineyard. It’s really funny to watch a group of them standing at the edge of the netting looking at each other with great frustration.
They’re almost as frustrated as Barbara is in the accompanying photo attempting to lay the netting on top of the canes! The netting goes up at veraison and comes down the day before harvest.
We’re getting close. Harvest is normally about 60 days after veraison is complete. We hope El Niño arrives the day after harvest.