You know the story. You’ve worked incredibly hard at your garden and you’ve made sure that your plants are fertilized and watered regularly. You’ve invested a lot of time in making sure you could grow your own fruits and vegetables. Your plants are about to flower or bear fruit. You go out one day and the next thing you know is that some of your plants have been pecked at and eaten away. Little fruits that have begun to grow have been taken off the branch. Your baby vegetables have been pulled right from the ground. Yep, the birds came and decided to treat your garden as their personal refrigerator again. By now we’re sure you’re asking how to stop birds eating plants.
Birds are great – they’re obviously part of the ecosystem and truly have their role in our world. And of course, who doesn’t love to hear the lovely sounds of birds chirping outside the window? For plenty of people, the sound of singing birds can be such a great mood lifter as well. In plenty of situations, birds are welcome and even invited with bird houses and bird baths in back yards and gardens. But then, you have situations where certain unwelcome species of birds can wreak havoc on your plants.
If you are looking to get rid of the birds (figuratively of course), don’t worry – we’re here to help you with the different methods of how to stop birds eating plants.
What are Nuisance Birds
To be quite honest, certain birds are alright in the garden. Many of them are the type to eat away at any pests and harmful insects in your garden – such as snails and slugs. In a way they can help you with keeping your plants safe. However, the fact of the matter is that there are birds that are also very unwelcome. Let’s take a look at why some birds are less welcome than others, shall we?
Parasites, Viruses, Diseases – Oh my!
One of the main reasons why you would not want certain types of birds in your garden is basically because you may end up exposing yourself to all sorts of bad things. To be completely honest, it’s probably a good idea to keep certain types of birds away from your property if you have pets that love to play outside, or kids that often spend time in the garden or backyard. This is because certain species can carry various parasites, viruses and diseases.
There are a bunch of different diseases that birds can actually pass on to humans, especially those who are immunocompromised. Cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, psittacosis – these are all examples of some of the things that nuisance birds can pass on to you. If you think they sound scary, that’s probably because they are.
Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection that you can get from fungus that is in your environment (like in soil, or on decaying trees/wood), but you can also get it from the droppings of infected birds. While rare in healthy folks, you still wouldn’t want to risk getting it – especially because it brings on fever and all sorts of respiratory symptoms. Histoplasmosis is another fungal infection, but this time practically anyone can get it. Babies and adults over the age of 65 are most likely to get histoplasmosis, and the symptoms of this infection can be pneumonia-like. Psittacosis is a bacteria-caused disease that infected birds will spread through their respiratory secretions and droppings. This disease is also known as avian chlamydiosis.
If those aren’t reason enough to make you not want nuisance birds around, just think of the parasites they could possibly bring too!
They Can Destroy Your Beautiful Plants
Of course, this reason is important. How could it not be? After all, you’re here to find out how to stop birds eating plants in your garden, are you not?
Yes, it’s definitely true. There are also birds that may have a specific appetite for the seeds and crops that you have planted. This is why sometimes you’ll simply find that birds have yanked certain plants right out of the ground. Similarly, you may also find that these birds have eaten away at your plants. It’s truly quite irritating and discouraging, especially when you’ve spent weeks cultivating everything to make sure you get yourself a lovely harvest. You don’t want to keep going out to your garden only to find some of your plants destroyed, after all.
So yes, it’s important to learn how to stop birds eating plants.
Other Reason Why Nuisance Birds Can Be Pests
The negative effects of these nuisance birds don’t quite end there. As a matter of fact, there are many other ways in which these pesky little feathered fowl can ruin your garden. For example – if birds start pecking at your crops and seeds it can affect the yield you get. Another thing is it may affect the conditions of the soil in your garden.
So how do you keep birds away?
On Keeping Nuisance Birds Away
Before we begin talking about the different methods of keeping these pesky fowl away, we do want to ask that you treat these birds as humanely as possible. Regardless of how much of a nuisance they can be, it’s important to note that in many states across America, it is illegal to shoot wild birds. This is most noteworthy, because even if you really want to get rid of them, you honestly wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the law regardless.
How to Stop Birds Eating Plants
So now we have made it to the most important part of our article here – the methods of how to stop birds eating plants. If you’ve made it this far, then hang on a little longer. We’re here to help!
Unfortunately, most of these methods will probably also keep the friendly birds away. So be prepared to notice fewer friendly birds in your gardens. You may end up seeing fewer friendly fowl in your bird houses, bird feeders and bird baths, too. But that’s just the trade off in order to make sure you keep your plants healthy.
And so, without further ado, here are the different ways in which you can scare these birds away.
Method #1 Reflections
Many different kinds of birds truly dislike reflective and shiny things (not magpies, of course). If you want to protect a particular row of plants or crops that you have noticed birds prefer, here’s what you can do. You will need a few things: stakes, reflective tape, and scotch tape. You can then shove two stakes on either sides of the plants and tie the ends of the reflective tape to them, effectively making a sort of “banner” over the plant(s). Make sure that the tape is about six to eight inches over the plants in order to maximize effectiveness. If you have a longer row of plants, you can simply secure more stakes and tie the tape around them to ensure the tape does not sag. This is a proven effective method of how to stop birds eating plants.
Another thing you can do is to use old CDs. Surely, many people out there still have those old CDs that they no longer use or have any need for. If you have them lying around, now is the perfect time to start using them. Simply thread a string or rope through the center hole and employ the stake method in order to get the CDs hung above the plants. Sure, it may not look good, but it’ll keep the birds away!
It’s important to note that if you use such reflective devices you may need to watch out for people whose eyes you might affect. Be sure that your reflective tapes and CDs do not face any roads, and do not catch the sun in such a way that it may distract drivers. Also make sure that your reflective surfaces aren’t focusing the light back onto any single thing, because you don’t want there to be any risk for a fire at all.
Method #2 Noise and Music
If you have a portable radio and you don’t mind a little bit of background noise, you can put a portable radio out by the plants in your garden. The noise that the radio is making acts as a good deterrent against the birds, making them think twice before they even fly near the plants. You can also choose to play sounds that predators make instead, or even bird calls and sounds made by distressed birds. This can make a bird not want to be anywhere near your plants.
Unfortunately, if you live in a crowded area or if you have neighbors close by, this may not always be the most ideal method to use. This is because some people may complain to you about the noise. If you feel as though your neighbors would dislike the noise, or if you feel that you would get irritated by it eventually, perhaps you might want to employ the other methods here instead.
Method #3 Scare Tactics
Scare tactics can be effective on many different types of birds. So if you want to scare birds away, you can hang different things around plants that these pesky fowl might often target. For example, you can hang balloons that have scary faces painted onto them. You can even buy plain mylar balloons and draw the faces on them yourself, as a good way to reduce on your spending. The only disadvantage to this is you may have to replace the balloons every so often as they will deflate after being exposed to the elements for a while.
For particularly pesky birds, like crows for example, you can use scarecrows. Yes – scarecrows! These things do exist for a reason after all, and they definitely will be effective in keeping the birds away so long as you place them properly. Again… won’t really look pretty in your garden but who needs aesthetics when you have perfect, untouched plants and crops?
Method #4 Decoys
One thing that you can use in order to dissuade birds from coming into your property is to use decoys. Decoys are an excellent way to keep pesky birds off your plants. In fact, it’s a well-known method of how to stop birds eating plants in your garden. You can purchase many different types of decoys in hardware stores or in home and garden type shops. A very common type of decoy used is that of an owl. Get one and perch it nearby the plants you want to protect!
We do have to say that it’s important for you to move the decoys around every day so that the intelligent birds don’t catch on to the fact that it’s… well, a decoy. To keep them more effective, you’re going to want to make sure to move them around. You can even employ the radio method along with it.
Unfortunately, this method in particular only works for short periods of time. This is because birds are intelligent enough to see and realize when a decoy is fake.
Method #5 Other Deterrents
When it comes to birds, making your property less inviting to them is basically a good way of keeping them away. Therefore, it’s wise to make plenty of areas uncomfortable to perch on. Use netting, upside down crates or baskets to protect your plants. Use repellent gel to coat some surfaces like fences and railings. Do all of this and your garden should be better off in the end!
We hope that all of the ways of how to stop birds eating garden plants we’ve listed here will help you out. It’s important, after all, to preserve your plants. That way all of your hard work cultivating them does not simply go to waste! Remember, of course, that no matter how badly you want to get these birds away it’s still truly important for you to treat the birds as humanely as you can!