Choosing to protect plants from birds
Days later, you come out to find that all of your newly planted plants are gone! Birds have eaten away your tiny seedlings faster than they could grow, destroying your harvest.
There’s nothing like the taste of your own home-grown fruit and vegetables. Not only we are happy about the ripening fruits, but they are also a treat for birds such as redstarts, warblers, blackbirds, and thrushes.
Hungry birds can harvest berry bushes and fruit plants within a few days. Many garden owners, therefore, protect their plants with so-called bird protection or harvest protection nets.
How to keep birds out of the garden
Despite the fact that birds might not be welcomed in your vegetable garden, they still perform an extremely crucial function in the ecosystem. Thus, stopping them from coming into your garden space is not just inhumane, it is also detrimental to your local ecosystem. Therefore, if you find yourself having to get rid of birds, see below for 12 humane approaches to making them move in the other direction to help you get your harvest for yourself.
- Move or lose
Birds are not dumb. If you let a scarecrow sit in the same place for a prolonged time, they’ll soon notice that it’s not a concern for them and will move on to your vegetables. In order to disorient the birds, you will have to move your scarecrow weekly and switch its look to demonstrate to the birds that your scarecrow is not only a passive defense technique but that it poses a potential threat. Similarly, if you choose to use any reflective objects, perhaps old CDs, to deter resident birds, these must also be relocated and repositioned quite regularly to give the birds the element of uncertainty.
- Garden netting
Setting up barricades in your garden by using garden netting can be one of the most efficient methods to keep the birds from damaging your garden. Bird netting keeps your plants protected from birds while also allowing smaller beneficial insects, like butterflies and bees, to gain entry to your flowers to pollinate them. To prevent potential harm to birds and other wildlife, keep your netting stretched at all times and use netting with holes less than one inch in diameter.
It is also essential to consider installing high-quality, UV-resistant netting materials. They may be somewhat costlier, but high-quality netting is designed to withstand a lifetime of use, whereas lower-priced netting can turn into a potential danger to birds and other small wildlife as soon as it starts to rot out and decay.
- Use mesh wire on the ground
Fasten mesh wire to the ground to keep freshly harvested seeds or recently seeded tubers from being harmed by birds or chickens scratching and pecking at the ground. When seedlings start to sprout, the wire can be raised from the ground onto posts for extra support.
- Protect plants with garden fleece
Garden fleece is often used to protect plants from frost during the colder months, although it can be used year-round to protect smaller plants from birds. Drape the thin, white fabric over your lettuce, beets, chard, and bok choy to discourage neighborhood birds from pecking up your greens before they have a chance. Stock the sides with rocks or stakes, then roll the fabric back when it’s time to pick.
Plastic owls and toy snakes
Dummy predators, such as plastic owls, hawks, or other birds of prey, can deter birds from spoiling the goodies in your garden. However, just as with scarecrows, the same applies here: If these static decoys aren’t moved regularly, birds will arrive and feast on whatever they want. However, if you are constantly moving your owls and toy snakes around your yard, you are discouraging birds from moving freely around the house. Attractors that move or make noise are even more effective at scaring birds away.
- Terror eyes balloon
The most popular bird scare is the “Terror Eyes” balloon. This big, blown-up, bright yellow-colored ball lightly flies in a slight air stream. The big eyes stamped on the ball, together with the movement of the ball itself, can frighten birds pretty quickly. Shop for scare-eye balloons at your neighborhood backyard store, as well as create your personal ones by making imitation eyeballs on a yellow ball for the beach.
Scarecrows actually perform quite nicely as bird scares, assuming they have switched around and changed frequently to avoid acting like obvious fakes. When building your own scarecrow, be sure it is lightweight and easy to shift, so you are able to reposition it a bit on a weekly basis to keep the birds away. Changing the exterior of the scarecrow sometimes, like the outfit or equipment, would be useful too.
- Wind chimes
Objects with sudden noises or motions, like wind chimes, may be highly efficient and useful bird discouragers. If you plan to use wind chimes to scare off local birds, ensure that you set them up in your yard since they won’t achieve a great effect on your porch, some distance away from the activity. When you can get wind chimes made from metal or another bright, reflective substance, they will be actually more effective.
- Running pets
Your much-loved pets are perhaps the most effective weapon for deterring birds from eating the fruits of your garden. A properly chaperoned dog will spend a lifetime scaring birds away from your garden. When you have an outdoor cat, it may keep the birds away, but it may also create trouble itself by transforming the limply worked soil into a makeshift litter tray and digging up your precious seedlings as it buries its treasures.
- Garden spinner
Every motion is going to send a cautious bird quickly fleeing. This is why wind-powered garden spinners can be a good option for preventing birds from leaving your vegetable garden. Like other static objects, you will need to relocate your garden spinners one or two times a month to ensure that birds will not mistake the decoys for fakes and come flying in.
- Reflective items
Reflective items, including old CDs or objects made from discarded or cracked mirrors, are also excellent bird deterrents. Birds dislike abrupt motion, and they are similarly frightened of flashing lights. String a few old CDs to your trees and bushes. When they move in the wind, they will send out rays of light spreading in every possible way. If you put the CDs or mirrors in a permanent place, you will have to relocate them one or two times a month to avoid the birds testing the waters.
- Create a stick jungle
Stick canes and tiny twigs in the ground surrounding your valuable plants. Birds will probably note the canes preventing their path rather than the delicious treat they protect. A barrier of tiny sticks will perhaps deter the birds, yet it may also keep you from harvesting your plants with ease. It is the most suitable way to keep seedlings and young, growing plants protected.
How to keep birds out of the vegetable garden
Whereas the majority of birds are not a danger to your vegetable garden, a narrow range of kinds consider your garden as a simple spot to get nutrition. Crested sparrows, finches, robins, or crows are the ones that are closest to harming your veggie harvest. The birds may quite often be feeding on your veggies when they have restricted access to alternative foods, like bugs. Implement beetles that birds eat, yet are also useful to your garden to help keep birds off your vegetables. Green lacewings eat leaf lice and can enhance your garden. Consider not using slugs and grubs, that birds enjoy eating, but they will cause damage themselves.
The Best way to keep birds out of the garden
Birds, just like deer or any other animal, want to enjoy delicious products of the garden just like you. However, you are not trying to keep the birds away! All you want to do is stop them from taking all of your hard-earned garden produce.
In fact, there are three basic approaches to discouraging birds from your garden: Barriers, scaring techniques, and chemical repellents.
Bird netting is the number one most efficient deterrent for birds. Anti-bird netting allows rain and sun to get through, yet it keeps birds out and can be easily dropped on your fruit trees. With most other plants, like blueberries, build a framework of bamboo, pickets, or other posts to suspend the netting from, and anchor it to the ground using wires. Anti-bird netting will last for multiple years with careful use.
How to protect plants from birds
Step 1. Lay the net over your tree.
You can trim the netting to fit the dimensions of your tree, but remember that your tree will keep growing if not trimmed on a regular basis. If your tree is bigger than you, throw the netting over it then use a rod to stretch the netting over to fully cover your tree.
Step 2: Stretch the net
Featuring a truly original hook system, eco-pegs offer the ideal anchors for your netting. Use them to fasten the netting by pushing them through the holes in the netting. Locate them spaced evenly around the net and firmly secure the net to the ground to prevent rodents from reaching under it and chewing up your crop.
Ways to keep birds out of the garden
Birds are prone to eating tiny crops which are just beginning to grow. When you’re attempting to plant vegetables, it can be a huge issue – all of your harvests may be taken away before you’ve even made a start. Fortunately for you, you have several ways to control the birds and keep your seedlings safe.
- Using barriers and deterrents
Construct a tunnel made of bird netting. Netting is the preferred method for preventing birds from reaching seedlings and is extremely straightforward to construct. Use some bamboo stakes, high posts, or fence poles to create a frame around your plants. Drape your netting over the poles and secure it to the bottom using curved wire.
Attempt to drape your mesh so that it creates a V-shaped tent. This will keep birds from reaching out and grabbing the plants.
- Use lemonade bottles to shelter your seedlings
Cut off the base of a clean, clear lemonade bottle. Place the bottle, so it is above the seedling, and then take off the top of the bottle. Using this approach will enable sunlight to access the seedling at the same time the plant still stays out of the reach of roaming birds.
This approach may also be done with upside-down berry trays.
When your seedlings are growing, you may have to support your bottles or baskets using bricks or rocks.
- Try using a fishing line to create a border
Birds can easily get tangled in wire, so the fishing line offers an inexpensive and effortless way to keep them from reaching your seedlings. Place posts, fence posts, or bamboo stakes around your garden and weave fishing line between the posts, above the plants.
Those who do not have a fishing line, twine, or wire will also likely work.
- Try a motion-activated sprinkler
Generally, birds are deterred by motion. So you might consider placing a motion-activated sprinkler in your yard to scare them away. The motion combined with the water the sprinkler sprays makes it less likely that birds will spend much time in your yard.
- Look into chemical deterrents
In fact, you can protect your seedlings from birds by placing naphthalene flakes between the rows of seedlings in your garden. You might also consider applying methyl anthranilate to your plants and seedlings to deter birds. Not only will this deter birds, but it will also scare away other wildlife. While these chemicals will not affect the taste of the food you plant, they will not have any negative effects on humans, but they do act as a strong bird deterrent.
Know your birds
It is a big help to know the species of birds that live on your homestead, either year-round or intermittently when they are migrating. Not all birds eat seeds. Some, such as the blue tit bird, eat a lot of insects, including larvae and caterpillars.
You will want to encourage these beneficial birds by providing them with shelter and a water source.
Blackbirds and their relatives include grackles, red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, and the starling.
These birds love garden seeds, particularly sunflower seeds and grains, with their preferred corn among them. They also scratch the soil to get a salad, bell pepper, and tomato seeds.
Crows are very smart and highly sociable. They congregate into groups to strategize ways to get your corn for dinner.
They do get a poor call, which in some circumstances might be deserved. Crows consume seeds and primarily maize cobs. Though, crows will also consume plenty of varmints, so you may want to consider not keeping them away at all.
Throughout the growth period, the crows eat a lot of insects and bugs, along with their grubs. As a matter of fact, the Humane Society claims that a cluster of crows eats over 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, and innumerable amounts of pests during a unique nesting cycle. And that is a pretty significant amount of harmful insects.
Finches are adorable, cheerful small birds, and they will really enjoy a safflower bird feeder. But they also adore tiny salad seeds. Because they are so tiny, you have to be mindful not to let them slide beneath your defenses.
You will want to use deterrents like row covers or netting that have tiny holes in them. Ensure you have dense tunnels without holes.
Give the birds whatever they like
This might sound as if you’re caving in to their requests, though it’s a wise approach to encouraging them to come to your garden while not giving up any of your food. By feeding the birds, you will both profit! It will help keep them away from your recently planted seeds, as well as keep them nearby to eat pests.
Plant seeds for the birds
There are lots of crops that might be helpful in drawing birds from your garden as well as supplying them with a nourishing meal. Millet, amaranth, and sunflowers are beneficial to lots of different species. In fact, you might consider having a bed planted with salad greens and leaving them out for your feathered buddies to eat.
Finches like a number of blooming “weeds” like milk thistle, daisies, echinacea, goldenrod, teasel, and tick seed.
Crows and jays will eat bigger nuts such as acorns and beechnuts.
Be sure to grow these a certain distance from your food crops to lure the birds off so they may eat their treats while not bothering the crops you wish to keep for yourself.
Birds are not just evil!
Protecting your investment and your family’s food supply is essential. Birds certainly can be pests when they attempt to eat up your newly planted garden seeds. However, there are plenty of options to attract birds to your yard while still maintaining your harvest.