The thief wore black with a splash of yellow.

The thief that has been enjoying himself in our garden was dressed all in black with a splash of yellow for his beak and a yellow line around his eye. I wouldn’t mind but I provide a nice juicy breakfast for him each morning of mealworms, he is welcome to all the slugs in the garden and this is how he repays me!

Here is our culprit, the common Blackbird, photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

We have our fruit cage up at the top of the garden with the veggies and usually check each day that there aren’t any birds that have managed to break in to the fruit. One day when I was up there I noticed that the fruit was ripe and ready for picking. Huge gooseberries weighing the branches down, green and red varieties, blackcurrants and redcurrants hanging just like bunches of grapes, thanks to all our rain which has made the fruit swell so much.


Should have picked them when I first noticed them, after a couple of days of torrential rain when we didn’t venture up the garden, next time I found a blackbird in with the fruit, it knew exactly where to get out, but had eaten all the gooseberries, every single one.


Thank goodness it hadn’t started on the redcurrants,


or the blackcurrants. As you can see, these were picked straight away and are now in the freezer.

So, I have decided that first of all, we must have a path round the edge of the lawn so that we can get up to the top of the garden no matter what the weather and second, that we must have a proper fruit cage, made from wood and wire mesh so that the birds can’t find a way in. Third, I somehow have to find a way of telling my husband that I have found  some more work for him to do !!

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14 Responses to The thief wore black with a splash of yellow.

  1. wellywoman says:

    It’s strange isn’t it. I don’t have a fruit cage and my gooseberries have been left alone. They’ve had a few tayberries which I’ve now netted and a few summer rasps but not too much. I’m keeping an eye on the blueberries. They’re quite sprawling plants so a real pain to net. At the moment they’re free to anything or anyone who wants to help themselves. They are just starting to ripen. I’m rather hoping the birds will look elsewhere but I’m sure I’ll end up having to construct some sort of system to protect them. 🙂 My freezer is so full with fruit I can’t fit much else in it. Going to have to start doing something with it all!!

    • Pauline says:

      WW, you have so much fruit, your blackbirds are spoilt for choice! We have autumn raspberries, not summer ones, because the birds don’t seem to bother with those, they are almost ready to start producing. Last year we had so many gooseberries, we are only just finishing them now, ah well, do blackbirds get tummy ache if they eat too much?!

  2. Christina says:

    You have such lovely looking red and black currants; I’ve tried them here but it is too hot and dry so I reluctantly puuled them out. The raspberries have always done very well, but this year I missed the first ripe fruit (we were way) and the birds found them and now even though I have now put shiny ribbon they are still eating more than their share! Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I don’t mind sharing Christina, but every single gooseberry, I ask you, in just a couple of days!! Does this mean I will be getting lots of little gooseberry bushes popping up all over the garden?! Gooseberry fool in the summer and gooseberry and ginger crumble in the winter will have to wait until next year now! Sorry you missed your raspberries, that’s the only problem with going away during the summer months.

  3. Caro says:

    I don’t seem to be too bothered by birds in the veg patch (the fox probably scares them off) but my balcony was plagued with the pigeons that lived on the balcony next door. (He grows nothing, my balcony is lush with edible goodness!) People assume birds are not clever but, as you’ve found out, they know exactly how to find the tiniest hole in your defences. Grrrrr. I’ve now renetted my balcony and my neighbour has finally (after 4 years!) done the same. Happy days!

    • Pauline says:

      As we both know Caro, birds are very intelligent, there was just the smallest space down at the bottom of the netting where it hadn’t been weighed down properly with bricks and stones, somehow it had come loose and we know the result. As soon as we appeared, it knew just where to go to escape! We have a fox that patrols the garden as if he owns it, but the birds don’t take any notice of him! Hope you’re winning in your war with the pigeons!

  4. Alberto says:

    Here the drought spoiled all my berries (they are at the far end of the garden, where I can’t reach with the hose), at least in your garden someone ended up with a full belly!
    How are you going to use those frozen berries? On ice cream?

    • Pauline says:

      I would rather Alberto,that the ones with the full bellies were us!! Sorry that your hot weather has ruined your crop of berries, maybe we are lucky to be cool and wet! The frozen berries can be used in all sorts of ways, in the summer (its supposed to arrive next week!) I usually make flavoured ice cream, or black or red currant fool. In the winter, if there are any left, they are made into crumbles or pies. When we have gooseberries I usually mix in some ginger for crumbles in the winter or if we have a lot, they get used for chutney to accompany meat.

  5. Hi Pauline, What an ungrateful bird and after all the food you have provided for him! I have red currants as well. Thankfully, the birds are so obsessed with the tree with the small cherry-like berries at the side of the house that they have not discovered the little treasure trove of red currants that I have in the back garden. I hope that they last until the weekend so I can harvest them and make some jam. I LOVE red currant jam on toast in the morning! Have a great weekend Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      Jennifer, your red currant jam sounds delicious, unfortunately we don’t have enough for jam, but they will make quite a few nice sweets or get mixed with other berries to make summer pudding. Summer is supposed to arrive this weekend, at last!!

  6. Helle (Helen) says:

    Ah, we also have thieves – small brown and grey ones – sparrows. They are happily munching their way through our not quite ripe apricots. We are crossing our fingers and hope there will be a couple left over for us by the time they ripen 🙂 Still waiting for my meconopsis seeds to be ripe enough for harvesting. Have you taken yours yet?


    • Pauline says:

      Helen, losing apricots is much worse than losing gooseberries, don’t these birds get tummy ache!! Have just been and had a look at the meconopsis seed pods, no, they aren’t opening yet. Summer started yesterday with non stop sunshine all day, same today, so maybe a few more days like this will dry everything off and encourage the pods to start opening, gardening certainly teaches us patience!

  7. Anna says:

    A bit unsocial to snaffle all the gooseberries but you have to admire the thief’s audacity 🙂 Glad to read that your currants did not meet the same fate. Better check mine tomorrow.

    • Pauline says:

      We only have 2 bushes Anna, one with green berries and one with red, but they produce so many berries that we normally get such a good crop, will just have to do without this winter! Hope your currants are still there when you check!

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