Garden Visitors #4

Thanks to a benign and relatively wet summer, the ornamental pear trees are sporting bunches of fruit the size of blueberries, and they’ve attracted to the garden visitors intent upon filling their stomachs with an easily obtained meal.

Cockatoos are large birds and they arrived en masse, landing on the trees’ upper branches, bouncing like children on trampolines and calling raucously to each other as they noisily gorged themselves. They were quite destructive, tearing off twiglets and dropping them on the ground. I feared for the branches as acrobatics were performed in attempts to access the best fruit, swinging upside-down if necessary, screeching all the while.

The collateral damage has been significant: massed twigs and half-eaten fruit at the foot of each tree; branches bared.

I counted around twenty of them in the trees. They clocked me out in the garden with my camera and gave me very sceptical looks before flying off.

Do you have destructive creatures in your garden? Do you attempt to move them on in some way, or accept them as part of the garden, knowing that plants will recover in their own time?

41 Comments Add yours

  1. Nate says:

    It would be so awesome to look up and see a cockatoo in a tree.
    Deer will nibble here and there but they don’t do much real damage. Bears, on the other hand, can lean on a young tree and snap it in half which is what happened to my cherry tree.
    We have those ornamental pear trees here too, but nothing eats the fruit. Probably because they never get ripe.

    1. Jane says:

      Oh goodness, I can’t imagine having bears in the garden! At our previous place (on 30 acres) we had olive trees, and kangaroos used to damage them in much the same way. Heartbreaking when you’ve nurtured your trees so carefully.

      1. Nate says:

        I can’t imagine kangaroos in the garden! Yes, I was horrified at the bear damage. I know bears will be interested in the fruit on the serviceberry, but they’re more flexible and I’m hoping they won’t tear it apart.

  2. Cockatoos are fun to watch, but I imagine it’s not fun when they cause so much damage. We have shingle back lizards in our garden and they adore fresh green seedlings. We’ve taken to growing all our vegetable seedlings in tubs because the lizards will demolish them in the garden beds. Mr ET even tried building a wall around them but that didn’t keep them out. Tubs are the only way.

    1. Jane says:

      I haven’t thought of lizards eating seedlings. (Better get mine in!) Maybe we don’t have those here…mostly skinks, blue tongues and bearded dragons and I think they eat snails etc, which is great.

      1. We’ve been here more than 16 years and only just the other day saw our first blue tongue. Yes, they do eat snails but I’m hoping he might move the other lizards on to a new home too. 🙂

  3. Cathy says:

    I can only imagine the mess they make, but what a lovely sight! I try and protect certain plants from hares, but do feel sorry for them in winter and early spring before the grass and clover start growing again. Once their natural food is available again they rarely bother with garden plants. (Touch wood!)

    1. Jane says:

      We have hares and rabbits here too, but I’m now in town so we don’t see them. I would feel sorry as well, if they had nothing to eat.
      The cockatoos are so very white and they do look wonderful. There are black cockatoos around here too, but so far they haven’t visited the garden.

  4. They are beautiful, but destructive! Yes, like young children on trampolines, a nice analogy. I have almost the same problem: escapee rose-ringed parakeets, let out of a Belgian zoo decades ago, which come and eat the buds on my apple tree!

    1. Jane says:

      I hadn’t heard of your parakeets, so did a little search. They’re greenly gorgeous, but it’s a shame they have a liking for apple tree buds. Having bits removed from my pears at this time of the year isn’t really a major problem now that the growing season is over.

  5. I do love to see your birds that are so different from ours. I live in a suburb of a big city. We have armadillos, rabbits, deer, squirrels and wild hogs that plow up yards.

    1. Jane says:

      Armadillos! I wonder if that’s a common sighting?
      You have more than your fair share of visitors causing damage. I wouldn’t like to have wild hogs, in particular.

      1. Armadillos are mostly active at night, but can be seen in the day. They plow through the yard and beds looking for grubs. Unfortunately, they are often hit by cars and we see a lot of dead ones. If you search my blog for “armadillos”, I have some cute photos of babies that were out during the day.

  6. shoreacres says:

    Without a garden, destructive critters aren’t much of a concern. However: I do have an opposum who favors my bird feeders, and who makes quite a mess tipping them over to get at the seed!

    1. Jane says:

      We have possums (as they’re called here) also, but I haven’t seen any in our garden. They like to eat new shoots and flower buds, so people who do have them are often disappointed by the damage in their gardens.

  7. Terena says:

    I have deer eating my garden…and after many years, I can confirm that there are NO ‘deer proof’ plants, no matter what the garden gurus say;(
    However, they were here before us, and their antics are so amusing, that I can usually manage to get over it.

    1. Jane says:

      I like your philosophy and I feel the same. It’s disappointing when plants are damaged, but they do have the ability to regrow quickly.

  8. John Hric says:

    At different moments deer, squirrels, cats, and raccoons. The deer are the biggest most constant threat during bloom season. I find starting early in the season with two or three scent deterrents is important. One does not want them to establish a pattern of visiting daily. They are creatures of habit.

    1. Jane says:

      You wouldn’t want those animals in amongst your beautiful day lilies!
      Cats are an enormous problem in Australia, being responsible for the slaughter of native animals. They visit our garden too, and kill birds, unfortunately.

      1. John Hric says:

        I have seen a few cats making off with a bird in tow. They each bring their own nuisance.

  9. Heyjude says:

    Oh, they are such lovely birds and wonderful to see them flying free. I think I would forgive them.

    1. Jane says:

      I agree, and I do forgive them. The trees will put out lovely new branches in spring.

  10. susurrus says:

    Our main problem, if you call it that, are the cats. One has ‘left home’, and is living wild. Its owner is trying to catch it, but it evidently doesn’t wish to be recaptured.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, cats are a problem here too, and I’m afraid their owners are careless and don’t keep them in at night. Neighbouring cats come to our garden for ablutions and bird killing and it’s almost impossible to keep them out.

  11. Kris P says:

    I’m sorry to learn that such attractive and interesting birds are so destructive, Jane. No local critters have ever displayed any interest in the fruit on our ornamental pear, which creates a mess without help – I can only imagine what a flock of cockatoos would do to complicate matters. The only thing similar to what you describe that I’ve seen here are the wild parrots (descendants of escaped pets) that periodically target fruiting date palms. I once lived in a neighborhood that saw their raucous arrival once a year.

    1. Jane says:

      I like the cockatoos really, Kris. The trees will catch up on their growth in the spring and all will be forgiven! They’re not the only birds that do this. In town the same thing is happening to some of the street trees, only I think it’s possibly rainbow lorikeets getting a feast. We have them visiting our garden too, but not in great numbers.

  12. bonnie groves poppe says:

    I live in Provence, and the only destructive animal I know are Sangliers (wild boar). They can’t get into our walled garden, so not a problem. Foxes will eat your chickens if they can, but I have no chickens. I have vegetables and ornamentals on 3000 sq. metres, and all I see are lizards, loirs (an acrobatic rodent) and hedgehogs — none of them bother the plants. The cockatoos, like parrots, are beautiful, but extremely destructive in gardens!
    Bonnie near Carpentras, Vaucluse

    1. Jane says:

      I had never heard of a loir, so did some research. It seems the ancient Romans ate them as a delicacy!
      I’m glad the sangliers can’t get into your garden as I think that would be quite scary and dangerous as well as destructive.
      Hedgehogs are cute. We don’t have them here, but they are found in NZ, where I come from originally. I used to like seeing them in the garden.

  13. rusty duck says:

    I could forgive them (almost) anything, I loved watching them when in Australia. They are so intelligent too, great characters. I’m sure I’d change my tune if they moved into my garden! Now rabbits on the other hand.. they’ve turned up en masse here this year. Given that we are surrounded in woodland I don’t think there is much I can do, except cover half my plants in chicken wire!

    1. Jane says:

      I think rabbits would be much more difficult to contend with, and probably more destructive. Being in town now, we see few of them, but we have seen kangaroos in gardens! I love the cockatoos, really: as you say they are birds full of character and cheek. And they’re beautiful to look at as well.

  14. So far the cockatoos or Corellas haven’t landed in my garden as yet. As mush as I like birds, the sheer numbers of Corellas screeching around remind me of a Hitchcock movie ‘The birds’.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, I know what you mean! We have large flocks of corellas too, and fortunately they haven’t felt the need to stop in our garden.

  15. Vicki says:

    Great shots, Jane.

    I don’t have much trouble at all now that my balcony garden has been re-homed, but earlier last year (and previous years), the birds (fairy-wrens and house sparrows) were certainly very partial to my parsley and mint bushes. The best year for my blueberries meant placaing cotton netting over the bush, but the fairy-wrens still walked all over the net trying to reach through and grab the fruit.

    I figure I had plenty to share.

    1. Jane says:

      Oh yes, we had starlings trampling all over the net covering our fig tree, poking their beaks through and damaging the figs. Are you not growing anything at all on your balcony now, Vicki?

      1. Vicki says:

        At the moment I have a Rosemary, perennial Basil & small Mint. Until I can bend more freely and carrying some weight (in the form of heavy watering jugs, I’ll wait until next Spring to re-set up the balcony garden. I really miss being able to step outdoors to pick parsley, mint, other herbs and leafy greens for dinner. Every time I buy a bunch of parsley I end up throwing half of it out. What I need for a single person is about 1/2 a bunch of parsley. I miss the fun of trialling new heirloom tomatoes last Spring too.

  16. Wow. I’m having issues with wood pigeons. Less exotic than cockatoos mind you.

    1. Jane says:

      One country’s exotic is another country’s pedestrian……

  17. Christine says:

    This year our grapevine has been decimated by possums – never previously been a problem but this year we had scarcely any shade under the pergola – not to mention the loads of possum poo needing to be swept up each day

    1. Jane says:

      It would be very disappointing to have your grapevine eaten just when you needed it over summer. We haven’t had any possums in our garden, but other people in town have.

  18. macquie says:

    Beautiful shot! I love this gorgeous aviation!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Macquie!

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