So there are tomatoes in my backyard, and for some reason, nothing seems to eat them even though lots of birds visit the backyard, which surprises me. Do birds and rodents (mice and squirrels) have a preference for certain fruits? Like high calorie ones over low calorie ones?
As far as I'm aware (which means very little), birds "generally" aren't interested in things like tomatoes, peppers, apples, pears...
When birds go after those types of crops (especially prior to ripening stage) it normally points to one of two things:
They are extremely thirsty and after the moisture inside the fruit, vegetable.
They are extremely hungry, their preferred food is so scarce, non-existent they are forced to scavenge.
On the other hand, fruit berries are a highly desirable food source for most birds.
Also as fruit matures (nears ripening stage) on tress (Peaches are a great example here), or is allowed to over ripen, it becomes highly attractive to birds. Why? I'm not 100% sure, but I would guess it has to do with:
Certain species of birds simply favour eating fruit eg
Built in instinct (survival mechanism to feed heavily while the going is good).
Smell given off during ripening period.
Some further reading from Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences:
On many farms or orchards, bird damage is minimal and growers choose to ignore the problem or just take the loss from birds into account as a management cost. For others, problems from birds can be substantial, resulting in the consumption of or damage to large portions of the fruit crop.