Partridge the Northern Apple Growers Nightmare

Partridge, the Northern Apple Grower’s Nightmare

from issue:

Apple orchards suffer from a wide range of problems. The worst of all is not moose, deer, rabbits, voles, round-headed apple tree borers, sawfly, codling-moth, curculio, or scab. It is a bird, the ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), known locally by the nickname partridge, which is the term I will use in this article. Partridge eat the buds of trees in the winter, and apple buds are among their favorite foods. They eat both leaf and flower buds, but leaf buds will regenerate the same year. Flower buds will not; they require two years in formation. If you lose all your flower buds, you will have no apples. Just one partridge is easily capable of “budding” an entire small orchard over the course of the winter.