How to Prevent Birds From Ruining Your Plants

Robin on a branch - how to prevent birds from ruining your garden

You know the feeling; you’ve worked so hard to build and plant a garden. Lovingly tended the delicate little shoots, watched them flower and blossom into tall, elegant shoots bearing precious fruit and then a feathered little mooch comes rocketing down out of the sky, eyeing your labour as a free snack.  But how do you stop the little feather-brains from snatching your crops? Well, you poor frustrated farmer, read on, friend. Read on.

Moving Objects and Noise

Either of these is a good idea, but after a while, birds can get used to one or the other, dismissing it as harmless. The key to making them work is to combine them into one big distraction. Put up pinwheels or shiny CDs as a visual deterrent and back them up with a noisy radio or wind chimes. Even better, if you’re able to occasionally swap out the visual cue with another or change its position, the irregularity of the distracting object will continue to disconcert the little pests. This will make them more reluctant to swoop down into your garden.

Plastic Predators

The only kind of bird you can likely expect in your garden are small ones like robins, finches or pigeons. These birds are prey items for larger birds like falcons and owls. You can use this to your advantage by acquiring a fake owl or other bird of prey as a decoy. You can find these at any hardware store. Some models even move and make noise, further spooking your little friends. It’s advisable to place the decoy in a place where it’s easy to reach, since moving it around from place to place simulates a live animal and increases the deterrent effect of the item.

Terror Eye Balloon

This is arguably the best method for dealing with unwanted pests. The terror eye balloon is the best of all worlds, providing a source of fear and nerves for birds that moves and shifts all on its own. Birds can see in color, so the more outlandishly colored the balloon, the better a visual aid it becomes. They’re usually large yellow balls with red and blue bulls-eyes printed on them, but it is possible to make your own version at home. They’re a little bit unnerving to look at, so making your own could definitely be up your alley if they freak you out more than the birds do. If you need help finding a balloon or something similar, check out the variety of bird scaring products on BirdBusters. They have a great selection for any discerning gardener.

Netting Framework

This is a classic method relying on irrigation tubing and specialized bird netting stretched over an arch-like framework poised over your garden. Most nets are made of strong polypropylene, which is lightweight enough that it won’t sink on its own weight. It can be anchored down with most any kind of weight like rocks or even clamping it down. Fortunately, you have some time after planting to get it set up, as most birds aren’t interested in your crops until the produce starts to appear. Netting can also inhibit you, however, so plan accordingly.

Other Animals

If you have a dog, make him earn his keep. Sure, he can’t guard the garden 24/7, but whenever you’re outside to watch him, he can act as his own deterrent for the garden, chasing away any winged intruders looking for lunch. Not just dogs, either. Cats are a classically excellent source of bird hunters, though there’s always the risk of your cat actually catching the animal.

We’re willing to bet you don’t want to hurt the little pests, so with a little research, you can learn all kinds of different ways to keep them out of your hard-earned rewards. Birds are easy enough to scare and with a little innovation, it’s possible to keep them out entirely. Experiment and figure out what methods work best for your situation and the kinds of scavengers you wind up with.

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