Bird Scarer – Big Bertha

Here’s a photo of Big Bertha.

She is our faithful new friend and all she demands in life is for her gas bottle to be refueled every now and then.

Without her we would have had our cherry trees stripped by Starlings by now; even though they are covered by nets as these nasty little sods will chew through them with a smile!

Last season was a nightmare as the starlings moved from the cherries to the plums and then onto the apples.

Our apple crop was well down, with some orders having to be cancelled as there is no market for bird pecked fruit!

Big Bertha is turned on at 6am and turned off at dark.

Folk in Central Otago are well accustomed to the ‘sounds’ of income and jobs being saved and very few complain.

In the early years on the Orchard I tried scarecrows, scary looking balloons, silver strips, hawk kites but nothing worked.

I wasted so much time and money on these contraptions!

Birdshot, shotgun blasts or bird scarers are definitely the only way to go!

Just over twenty years ago a little old lady from town came out with an Xmas gift for Sam and a fruitcake for Alex and I.

As she entered our driveway the bird scarer went off and panic descended her as she thought she was being shot over so she put her foot down and roared up our drive like a lunatic.

During that few seconds of speed she had time to reflect as to what she had actually heard so when her car came to a screeching halt, it had well and truly registered that it was the bird scarer, not a maniac with a gun that had made the ‘boom’.

Alex was there to greet her as she struggled out of the car with a very embarrassed look on her face and as she had mocked many of her elderly friends throughout the years when they had been caught out by the same sound, she knew she had to save face at any cost so after an expletive was exclaimed, she then proceeded to swear him to secrecy as to her ‘mistake’ whilst thrusting the cake and toy car into his hands.

He assured her he wouldn’t tell a soul.

I don’t think she ever mocked her friends again!

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