Species of Birds
Crows: The American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos, is a problem primarily for apples. It pecks deep triangular holes in the apples, often destroying the fruit or leaving it susceptible to disease.
Grackle: The common grackle, Quiscalus quisula, has a black body, an iridescent head, and a keel-shaped tail. Grackles consume small fruit such as blueberries whole. They often slash large fruit such as cherries and apples and leave it damaged.
House Finch: The house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus, is a relative newcomer to the eastern United States--its historic range is in the western part of the country. In the 1940s, it was released on Long Island, New York, and has been spreading in numbers and distribution since that time. The house finch has brown streaks and looks like a sparrow. The male has patches of orange or red under its chin and on its sides. The house finch starts at the top of a blueberry bush and pecks berries in rapid succession. Many are left damaged. It also pecks grapes open and feeds on the juice and pulp within. It leaves small irregular nicks on apples, which often make the fruit susceptible to disease. The house finch causes extensive damage to fruit in the western United States. In the eastern United States, it is not a major problem but might become one in the future.
House Sparrows: The house sparrow, Passer domesticus, is also an exotic species introduced from Europe. The male can be recognized by his black bib and white cheeks. The female is drab brown. House sparrows damage grapes, cherries, and other small fruit, generally by pecking holes. The house sparrow is not protected by law.
Robin: The American robin, Turdus migratorius, is a common and well-known bird. It is probably the species most frequently reported as consuming small fruits and cherries. Robins consume whole cherries, grapes, blueberries, and other small fruit and frequently cause substantial damage.
Starling: The European starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is an exotic (nonnative) species introduced into North America from Europe. It has a black-speckled appearance, short tail, and wings that appear triangular when the bird is in flight. Starlings are not protected by law. They can cause extensive damage to fruit because they often descend on orchards in huge flocks. Starlings eat small fruit such as grapes whole, and slash large fruit such as cherries. They peck holes in apples, consume the inside of the fruit, and leave the apple hollowed out.
Others: A number of other species might cause problems, depending on the time of year and the habitat surrounding the orchard or garden. Species include the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), and Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula).