Whether they're from the North or South, birds love Alabama's state fruit, blackberries. If they're enjoying yours before you get the chance, set up this low-tech line of defense: Drive bamboo stakes into the ground around the perimeter of the berry patch. Perch flowerpots on top, and cover with bird netting, which you can find at garden centers.
Use bamboo stakes that are taller than the berry bushes and you, so you can move around underneath the netting. Make sure the netting drapes all the way to the ground.