birds out of garden

How to Keep Birds Out of Garden: 11 Tricks That Work

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Are you curious about how to keep birds out of the garden? We’re here to help!

Some gardeners spend a lot of time bringing birds into the garden. Birds can be a beneficial component of your garden ecosystem such as indigo buntings. They add life and music. They can also be helpful for pollination and pest control. 

But not every gardener is a fan of having birds around, especially if they are in the business of growing fruits and vegetables. 

The reason is that some birds are notorious for helping themselves and ruining plants. For example, pigeons are notorious for eating cabbage. Crows love to feed on corn, and bluejays ravish berries. 

If you are struggling with birds eating your plants, or wondering if there are any specific plants that repel birds, keep on reading. Below you will find some of our favorite strategies for keeping birds out of the garden. 

What Attracts Birds to the Garden?

Depending on the type of garden you keep, visiting birds may or may not be what you are looking for. When it comes to growing a decorative garden of ornamental plants and native species, local birds are considered a pleasant outcome of a well-maintained garden. 

However, birds can be notorious nuisances when it comes to growing edible foods. 

Birds are attracted to the garden by several things:

  • Water: birds need water to survive and will look for it in your yard for hydration and bathing.
  • Habitat: birds may enjoy your yard because of the habitat it provides. Trees, nesting boxes, and brush piles all provide valuable shelter for birds. 
  • Food: birds love to search around the yard for food. The food you grow and the native species that thrive in your yard may be attracting birds. 

How Do I Keep Birds from Eating My Plants?

Not all gardeners want their garden to be a hot spot for the local bird population. When it comes to growing fruits and vegetables, birds are notorious for causing a nuisance. They love to help themselves to young seedlings, ripe fruits, and berries. 

The good news is that there are plenty of strategies you can use to limit the number of bird visits your garden receives. However, when it comes to keeping birds from eating seedlings and flowers, there are a few important things to remember.

  1. Birds are intelligent creatures: the tactics you use to keep birds away may need to change as the birds adapt. This is especially true for scaring birds with decoys.
  1. You may need a multi-pronged approach: sometimes, utilizing one preventative measure is not enough. We have found success in keeping birds away by using multiple preventative measures at once.
  2. Remember the benefits of birds: birds can be a nuisance. However, their presence can also be a good thing. Birds are a sign of a healthy and safe ecosystem. Plus, they’re great for pollinating and eating garden pests like slugs, snails, and other harmful insects. 

What is the Best Way to Scare Birds Away From Your Garden?

There is no one tried and true way to keep birds away from flowers, planters and out of your fruit trees and vegetables garden. There is no silver bullet solution. Instead, we tend to think a combination of preventative strategies is the key to success. 

Below you will find ten ideas for keeping birds out of the garden. We recommend trying out a couple of these strategies to see how they work. Remember, as the birds adapt, you will also need to adapt. 

1. Wind Chimes

wind chimes bird deterrent

Wind chimes, like garden spinners, are another fantastic way to add functional flair to your garden. The sporadic movement of the wind chimes, along with the noise, are ideal for keeping birds out of hanging plants and scaring them away.

Remember, decorative wind chimes on the back patio won’t do much. You’ve got to make sure to hang your wind chimes close by the garden. Hanging them in neighboring trees or installing a post for them to hang on is the most effective. 

2. Reflective Items

For some reason or another, birds are afraid of the flashing lights that come from reflective materials. This makes old CDs and broken mirrors the perfect DIY bird deterrent.

When it comes to bird deterrents for gardens, we recommend fastening the CDs to tree branches and bushes if you try this method. The dynamic movement of the object, along with the flashing rays of light, will do a good job of scaring away birds. 

3. Garden Spinners

Garden spinners are the epitome of functional garden decor. Garden spinners are great for adding a unique decorative flair to your garden while at the same time deterring birds. 

As the spinners pick up speed in the breeze, their movement will scare birds away. Just remember, it’s important to reposition the wind spinners every month or so to keep the birds guessing. 

4. Protective Pets

Our pets are oftentimes the perfect bird deterrent. Cats, in particular, are notorious for their ability to hunt birds. Having an outdoor cat that enjoys hunting is often the simplest and most effective way to limit the bird population around your garden. Dogs are also a good bird deterrent, especially those that love to bark at and chase birds.

Whether you’ve got a cat or dog, the more time you can let them spend outside and around the garden, the better. Birds consider these animals to be predators and will therefore avoid the places your pets like to hang out.  

5. Scarecrows

bird scarecrows

When it comes to scaring birds away from your garden, scarecrows are the most iconic bird deterrents – and for a good reason. Their intimidating presence signals to curious birds not to come around. 

If you plan to make your scarecrow, make sure to construct it with lightweight and mobile materials. The reason is that for your scarecrow to be effective, you will need to reposition it from time to time. You may also consider changing the scarecrow’s appearance every so often. Otherwise, the birds will adapt to its presence and understand that it’s only a decoy. 

6. Terror Eye Balloons

One of the more popular bird deterrents is terror eye balloons. They are one of the more affordable options and are widely available at most garden centers and nurseries. 

Terror eye balloons are big yellow inflatable balloons. Printed on the outside of the balloon is a large scary looking eyeball. The intimidating balloons’ presence and their movement in the wind make them an effective tactic for scaring birds away from the garden. 

7. Plastic Snakes & Owls

Another effective strategy for keeping birds away from your garden is to incorporate decoy predators. Plastic owls, falcons, and other birds of prey are great for scaring birds. Even plastic snakes positioned amongst your garden can help scare away birds. 

Just remember, like, with any stationary bird deterrent, it’s vital that you frequently change the decoy’s position. The last thing you want is for the birds to get used to your scare tactics. 

8. Chicken Wire

Chicken wire with small holes is an excellent way to protect seeds from birds and stop them feeding on your precious plants. It’s also effective for keeping out other pests like rabbits. 

Chicken wire prohibits birds from pecking and scratching at freshly-planted young plants. As the plants mature, the chicken wire barrier can be adjusted and lifted off the ground for continued protection.   

9. Garden Netting

Installing a protective barrier, like garden netting, is one of the most effective strategies for keeping birds out of trees and from feeding on your fruits and vegetables. Out of common garden netting ideas, butterfly netting in particular, is the best. 

Butterfly netting protects crops and is effective because it keeps birds away from your plants while still allowing passage for beneficial insects and pollinators. Investing in high-quality netting is important. Quality garden bird netting will last a long time and be less of a danger to wildlife because cheaper netting tends to deteriorate and fray. 

If you install garden netting around your plants, installing the barrier tautly is important. Taut netting will protect your plants from birds, and not allow them to accidentally become trapped and injured.

10. Garden Fleece

When it comes to keeping birds out of the garden, you may also consider installing garden fleece. Garden fleece is typically used for protecting plants from frosts during colder months, but it can also be utilized as a protective barrier for birds. 

You can drape the garden fleece over your plants to keep birds from chewing on your plants before you get a chance. Then, when it’s time to harvest, simply roll back the fleece and get to work. 

11. Incorporate Protective Plants

If you want to avoid installing barriers around your plants, you may consider growing protective plants instead. For example, you can try planting annuals around the crops that the birds are eating to keep them out. Plants like calendulas, cornflower, poppies, and other wildflowers may help deter birds away.

How to Deter Birds from Your Garden Plants

We love growing our own food because nothing tastes quite as good as homegrown food. Unfortunately, we are not the only ones that enjoy the fresh produce. Our precious plants are constantly attacked by pesky insects and other animals like birds. It’s important to protect newly planted seeds as well.

If you also struggle with birds eating and ruining your garden plants, it’s time for a change. The good news is that you do not need to harm the birds to keep them from eating your vegetable garden. There are plenty of humane strategies, many of which have been mentioned above that you can try out. 

If you can remember the following items, we’re certain your garden will be bird-free in no time:

  • Keep the birds guessing: move around your stationary decoys to prevent the bird from catching onto your tricks.
  • Use light and movement: birds are easily scared by moving objects. Reflective moving objects are even better.
  • Patience is essential: it may take some experimentation to figure out how to protect your plants best.  Remain patient, and you will find success.

And lastly, if you can stand it, the fact that birds want to spend time in your garden may be a good thing. The pros that birds can provide to your garden may outweigh the cons, so it might not be necessary to get rid of birds in the garden. Instead, you might consider having some bird feeders to feed them.

FAQ

What home remedy keeps birds away?

If you are one for DIY projects, you may consider making a homemade solution to repel birds away from your garden. For example, mixing chili peppers and vinegar into the water to make a spray solution can sometimes be an effective strategy.  You may also consider remedies that use citrus essential oils and garlic or try some homemade bird scarers.

Do pinwheels keep birds away?

Pinwheels, wind spinners or garden spinners can sometimes be an effective tool for keeping birds out of the garden. Reflective pinwheels are even better. The flashing sunlight, along with the sudden movement, is often effective at scaring birds away. Remember to adjust the location of your garden spinner periodically. 

How to keep birds from eating tomatoes?

Unfortunately, some wild birds love our tomatoes just as much as we do. If you love to grow tomatoes and are struggling with pesky birds, we recommend installing a barrier of garden netting around your tomatoes. You may also consider adding reflective objects around your tomato plants, like old CDs, DVDs, mirrors, or reflective tape. 

Can you use netting to keep birds out of the garden? 

Yes, netting is one of the most effective ways to keep birds out of the garden. Unfortunately, installing netting to keep birds out of the garden is also one of the more time-consuming and expensive strategies. However, the extra investment of your time and money is worth it.

Properly installing your garden netting is crucial. Loosely installed and low-quality mesh may lead to more problems as birds become trapped and injured. So take your time to do it properly. 

How to scare birds away? 

Birds are skittish animals. In particular, they are afraid of larger, predatory animals. One of the most effective ways to scare birds away is incorporating decoy predators into your garden landscape. Plastic snakes, owls, and other birds of prey are all practical tools for scaring birds away. Scarecrows are also an effective preventative measure. 

With any decoy, it’s essential to mix up the location. Over time, birds will adapt to stationary objects, but if you change their location frequently, they will continue to stay away.

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*image by DirkM.deBoer&lokki61099/depositphotos

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