Usually, we would have picked the fruit from my pie cherry tree (Prunus cerasus ‘north star’) by this time. This year, however, there were so few cherries on the tree that I didn’t bother to cover it with bird netting. The birds happily ate the dozen or so cherries that the tree produced.
The fault is not disease, weather, or even a lack of pollinators. It is something that I’ve never seen before and find very puzzling.
This spring, when the tree was in bloom, I could see some activity in the tree. A bird was busily moving about, and white things were falling to the ground. On closer inspection, I found that flowers had been pulled off the tree. The bird didn’t appear to be eating them or using them for its nest — the ground was covered with white flowers.
I didn’t get a close enough look to identify the culprit. I think it was a dull-colored bird, a little smaller than an American robin (Turdus migratorius). I can’t explain its behavior; are birds capable of malice? The peach tree’s flowers were unharmed.
I guess that next year, I’ll have to cover the cherry tree with bird netting when it begins to bloom. I have to make sure the holes in the netting are large enough for the pollinators to get in and do their job.