We've been in our house for a full year now. One morning about a year ago, we went to pick cherries off our cherry tree only to discover that the black birds had eaten them all. We had seen the birds in the trees but we though they would, in their kindness, leave some for us humble new house owners. They did not and I shook my fist at them.
This year I think we have an ally. A chipmunk. I have sen him scare off sparrows and robins. I can only speculate that he has kept the black birds away this year because we have a bumper crop (relative to last year). We've seen him up the tree, stuffing cherries in his mouth. Chipmunk - if you have a computer in the hole you have dug in our front yard and you are reading this, thank you (and stop digging holes).
We spend a good three hours on Sunday afternoon picking cherries. With a borrowed ladder we were able to get about half up to the top of the tree (yes it needs to be pruned). The weather was amazing - warm and sunny with a nice breeze, we took turns picking and laying on the hammock. If you told me that there was a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I am not sure I would believe you.
At the end of the day we ended up with 2 full 7 litre baskets of cherries. And there is more yet to be picked (if we can find the time).