Get rid of birds

Tips to help keep birds and geese away from your home

Although birds can bring music and color to your yard, they can also cause chaos by eating plants, roosting in trees and leaving potentially dangerous droppings.

You can help protect your property against such problems, but note that most wild birds are protected under federal or state laws. Forced removal or harm of any protected bird may require a permit. Check with local officials or a licensed wildlife removal service before attempting to remove birds.

What are some tips to keep the birds off my property?

  • Remove the reason the birds are on your property. Is it food, water or shelter? The easiest way to remove nuisance birds is to eliminate or block the resources your yard offers.
    • Water features: If you have a water feature, birds like geese will likely find it. Drain or cover the feature to keep birds out.
    • Food that birds eat: Avoid plants that grow berries or cover them with fine metal netting. If a flock of birds is dominating your feeder, ask your local wildlife service what type of seed they won’t eat.
    • Places they can roost: Keep birds away from trees and bushes by pruning them often to remove the cover birds seek.
  • ”Scare” the birds off your property. Fright is another bird deterrent, no matter their motivation for making your property a home. Below is a list of potential solutions:
    • Flags that move in the wind are the cheapest, most effective ways to scare birds.
    • Predator statues such as lifelike scarecrows, owls, coyotes, snakes or cats that can be moved around every few days.
    • Shiny objects such as old CDs, foil pans or silver reflective tape.
    • Large colorful balls placed in the garden or from trees will look like eyes to birds.
    • Flashing lights.
    • Loud noise, such as a wind chime.
    • Barking dogs.
  • Use natural sprays to keep birds away. Check with your local hardware store or search the internet for solutions.
  • Enlist local help to remove the birds. Bird control requires experimentation, patience and, often, money. If your bird infestation is too great to manage on your own, contact your local animal control or pest control. Some cities even offer specific bird-removal services. Remember to check with local officials before attempting to remove birds.
  • Additional tips for geese. Geese tend to be pesky, aggressive, loud and leave plenty of evidence from their visit. Here are a few ways to discourage geese:
    • Visual scare tactics, such as those listed above, work well with geese.
    • Nets, fishing line and wires strung in the affected area create a barrier that is difficult for geese to cross.
    • Liquid goose repellents contain a chemical that geese hate. Read the label because these may need to be used frequently.
    • Bird experts recommend a variety of these techniques, as birds tend to adapt to situations quickly.
    • Geese are protected by federal law so check with local officials before attempting to remove or control geese.

How to Get Rid of Birds

Birds are creatures of habit. They easily become dependent on humans for food and shelter. It is always easier to keep birds away or to drive them out early than to get rid of an established flock. When exploring different methods of bird control, remember that all birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act except for the common pigeon, the house sparrow, and the European starling.

As with most types of pest control, an effective bird pest control program will incorporate the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. There are five broad components (or steps) in bird pest control IPM:

  1. Survey – Identify which birds are present, how many, and what problems they are causing or may cause.
  2. Sanitation – Sanitation is always the most important component of any pest control program. Sanitation efforts for bird pest control are most effective when birds are finding food and/or water at the nesting or roosting site.
  3. Exclusion and Habitat Alteration – The best way to keep birds off of or out of a structure is to make it impossible for them to roost and nest there. Exclusion may be as simple as repairing a window or involve complex bird netting or wiring installation. Blocking access into a structure is highly effective in preventing pigeon and sparrow nesting, though sparrows in particular are quite adept at finding entry points. Eliminating spaces such as where commercial signs are attached to buildings and where air conditioning units are installed will prevent nesting.
  4. Repellents – Different forms of repellents are used to scare birds or to make roosting areas uncomfortable. The most common bird repellents are tactile, mechanical, taste, sound, and visual repellents.
    • Tactile chemical repellents, such as gels and sprays, are nontoxic to birds and create an uncomfortable, warming sensation on birds’ feet or bodies, rendering landing sites undesirable.
    • Mechanical repellents include bird spikes, bird wire, and toothed repellent strips which are installed on ledges, light fixtures, or any other flat surfaces where birds would otherwise land.
    • Taste Repellents are nontoxic sprays applied to crops to make the fruit, grain, or bean unpalatable to pest birds.
    • Sound repellents are mechanical devices that emit distress calls or sirens to frighten and disperse birds. These are most effective in areas like crop fields, warehouses, and food plants rather than urban areas (where birds are accustomed to various sounds)
    • Visual repellents usually mimic predators to scare birds away from a particular area. Visual deterrents should be moved frequently to remain effective.

  5. Population Reduction – Bird population reduction programs are very involved and should only be considered when handling the worst bird problems. Population reduction efforts include baiting, trapping, and shooting, but avoiding non-target birds can be very difficult. Many states restrict the use of avicides and shooting.

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Whether you’re having a bird issue at home or at work, it’s certainly not something that should be ignored. When pest birds decide to make themselves at home, they can be quite difficult to get rid of. As birds congregate in large groups, they can be a major turnoff to customers and employees, and the messes they leave behind are certainly far from pleasant. Here is everything you need to know about how to get rid of birds on your roof once and for all.

Do Your Research

Before you make any rash decisions, do some research and read up on local protection laws. Many species of birds are not to be harmed so be sure you don’t do anything illegal. Also, research what birds are in your area and find out what kind is nesting or causing a nuisance. From there, you can start planning which method of removal is best for you.

Bird Removal Methods

Depending on where you are located, different bird control methods may be more effective. Here are some common removal methods that could help you be rid of those pesky birds.

  • Trapping – Using a trap and some food is a great way to catch birds trapped inside your roof. Just be sure you know what to do with them once you catch them!
  • Decoys – Placing fake predators, like owls and hawks, on your roof is a clever way to trick birds into staying away.
  • Destroy The Nest – If birds are flocking to your home, there might be a nest somewhere either on or inside your roof or chimney. If you remove it, those birds will soon be in search of a new home.
  • Ultrasonics – Using high-pitched sounds have been known to work. Although blasting loud sounds might have a negative effect on surrounding businesses and people nearby.

Best Methods For Preventing Birds From Coming Back

So let’s say you finally get the birds to leave. How do you stop them from coming back? This step is just as important as getting rid of them. So take some time to determine a plan of action. In order to get rid of birds on your roof as well as prevent them from returning, here are some of the most effective methods to try:

  • Netting – Block off the birds completely from any roof with netting. Just be careful when hanging it!
  • Perch-Repellant Gel – This special gel feels sticky and tacky to birds and is usually applied to ledges so birds feel uncomfortable and fly away.
  • Anti-Roosting Strips/Bird Spikes – These strips are often put on ledges of commercial buildings. They contain small metal pins that deter birds from landing on your roof.
  • Bird Repellent Spray – To keep birds away from your roof for good, your best bet is to apply a non-toxic bird repellent spray that is mild enough to use around people.

Bird Repellent: The Best Way To Get Birds Off Your Roof And Keep Them Away

Your best shot at ending your bird problems is a bird repellent spray. It’s not loud like ultrasonic devices or visible like decoys and it’s also far more effective! When applied consistently, bird repellent is the best method for sending those pest birds in search of a new home. Although many repellents may be effective, not all are created equal. It’s important to find one that is right for commercial business use and won’t impose a threat to customers and employees nearby.

Fly Away Birdies! How To Get Rid Of Birds On Your RoofLearn how to keep birds off of your roof with these tips from Avian Enterprises. Brand: Avian Enterprises Fly Away Birdies! How To Get Rid Of Birds On Your Roof

Credit: Thinkstock In order to keep your barns and sheds free of bird droppings, you must control the birds in the buildings.

Birds are a welcome sight in many settings both for their beauty and for being a predator of pesky, disease-carrying insects. “I have had several nests of birds in the barn loft for years with no problems. I am glad to share space with them and hope they eat bugs up there,” said Anne Brzezicki, an AQHA Professional Horseman from Tennessee.

The problem is that some birds are not satisfied with a peaceful coexistence. They pilfer expensive insulation for nesting materials and steal grain for meals. “We have had instances in the pasture when a large flock of birds scares horses away from their feed pans and eat the grain,” she added.

In some cases the birds become fiercely protective of their new home, a.k.a. your barn, and attack people, horses and cats who visit or live in the stable. “They dive-bomb people, horses and cats while we are working,” she said. “We have even had Starlings and Mockingbirds dive-bomb riders and horses when they were riding, scaring both the riders and the horses.”

Controlling nuisance birds is likely something you have to deal with, unless you consider yourself lucky like trainer Jill Newcomb of Jill Newcomb Performance Horses in San Diego, California, who said, “I am so lucky I don’t have a bird problem. I don’t know of any barns near me with me with bird problems.”

Common Controls

Once a flock of birds moves into your stable it can be difficult to get rid of them. There are a wide variety of techniques that can be used, some with more success than others. In most cases, they are most effective when used in combination.

Visual deterrents are one option. They include fake predators such as plastic owls, reflective tape, even traditional scarecrows fall into this category. Unfortunately, birds quickly adjust to these items and after a period of time are no longer intimidated by them.

Noise makers are another alternative. Commonly called bird bangers, cannons or pyrotechnics, these devices create a loud, thunder-clap like noise that scares birds away. As with the visual deterrents, birds can become used to the frightening device. Using multiple devices and regularly changing the location can help prolong their effects, but they are not a viable long-term solution. Before purchasing one of these devices find out if you are able to use it or if a professional is required. Also keep in mind that these noise-makers might cause more problems with your horses and horse owners than the birds!

Repellents are a third control technique. Liquid, granular and adhesive repellents discourage birds from congregating in areas where the repellent is applied. The repellent typically offers birds a bad taste when they ingest it to persuade them to stay away. A repellent should be used carefully as it can have unintended consequences for protected birds that accidentally come in contact with it.

Professional pest control companies may be able to offer additional advice or be able to perform specific services that potentially require permits. “We did consult with a company and did not find much help,” Brzezicki said. “Eliminating their nests all together was the only technique that has worked for us.”

Removal and/or relocation of the birds is the only guaranteed method for ridding your barn of birds. Eliminating areas where birds can roost, destroying nests and repairing any holes in the barn’s structure eliminate access to nesting areas. In cases of severe infestations, extermination may be the only option.

Bird Identification

Before taking action to relocate or remove a bird or its nest from your stable, it’s important to know which species of bird you are dealing with. Many species are federally protected by The Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Enacted in 1918, this provision made it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds protected under the act. In addition to federal protection, select species may be protected under state regulations.

Birds classified as non-native to the United States do not qualify for protection under this act, offering additional options for control. Learning to identify and understanding the characteristics of these birds can help you find strategies for dealing with them in your stable. Three of the most common birds considered a nuisance around the barn–the European Starling, the House Sparrow and the Pigeon or Rock Pigeon–are not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can be controlled without a permit.

Starlings

Starlings first appeared in the United States in the late 1890s, when they were intentionally introduced into New York. The bird stands are 8-9″ tall and have a wingspan of 12-16″. During the winter months, their dark feathers have white or cream spots and their bill is green. In the summer, their bill turns yellow and their black feathers take on an iridescent green or purple tint.

While Starlings eat cutworms and Japanese beetles, their aggressiveness and ability to cause damage often override their ecological benefits. The birds quickly become acclimated to visual or auditory frightening devices. Ledge protectors, which are metal strips with spikes, can be effective in preventing the birds from roosting. However, the strip must be wide enough and long enough to fill the entire ledge.

“The use of plastic or rubber strips hung in the doorways of farm buildings has been shown to be effective in keeping them out of barns, the strips should be 10″ wide and hung with 2″ gaps in between each strip,” noted the Illinois Extension website.

The best method for controlling starlings is to prevent access to the faculty. Seal off any holes that may exist in the barn’s exterior and remove nests as soon as they are found.

“We shot the offending birds, cleaned out the nests in the arena ceiling and we make sure to destroy any nests as soon as they start building them,” said Brzezicki. She found like many barn owners that it is easier to keep the birds out at the onset than to try and evict them once they have established a nest.

Pigeons

Considered a large dove, the pigeon, was introduced to the U.S. In the 1600s. The gray bird has distinguishing wing bands with color variations that range from bluish and purplish to chestnut, white and tan.

Pigeons tend to be more destructive than aggressive. “They tear and pick out the roof insulation and spread it all over the place,” Brzezicki said. “Even the bird-proof insulation, which I paid a lot extra for, didn’t work.” Not only does the destruction leave the ceiling looking shabby and cause stray pieces to fall off every now and then, it affects the ability to properly insulate the structure.

This bird travels in flocks of 10-30 birds, which results in large amounts of droppings that can damage the paint on buildings and cars, kill vegetation and pose a health hazard to humans. In urban settings, people often feed pigeons; however, that only encourages the flock to stay. The most effective method for getting rid of pigeons is to remove access to food and water, especially standing pools of water, and eliminating nesting or roosting sites.

House Sparrow

The house sparrow also prefers to live among a flock. Only six inches in length, the sparrow can fit through holes as small as 3/4″. The bird was first introduced in the mid-1860s and experienced a rapid population increase.

The male sparrow has a gray crown and white patches on the feathers. They also have a black throat and a rusty-brown back. Females are predominantly grayish-brown with black and fawn colored streaks and buff eye-liner.

The best strategy for limiting the sparrow population in your barn is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Repair any small holes, install ledge protectors and eliminate areas for roosting. Sparrows are persistent, they will immediately begin rebuilding a nest if it has been destroyed.

Prevention is the Best Control

Creating an environment around that barn that is unfriendly to birds is the best method of control available. Learn what types of birds are most common in your area and the type of feed and habitat they prefer. Then reduce access to both of those items to discourage them from moving into your barn.

Be diligent about removing nests and encouraging the birds to relocate to another home. Repair any holes that may offer a nesting site and eliminate roosting locations. If you need a sign on the side of the barn, choose a flat sign that does not offer a ledge large enough for roosting. Hiring a professional, purchasing noise makers and installing visual frighteners are all options that can help, but might only provide short-term solutions.

While birds can naturally control insect populations, the destruction and aggravation certain species of birds cause within your barn outweighs the potential benefits. “When they interfere with our people and our horses, they have to go,” Brzezicki concluded.

Trees are more than just part of our natural landscape. They provide food and shelter for many animals, especially birds. Birds utilize trees for nesting, and they can get noisy in those early hours when you’re still sleeping. Here are a few ways to protect your trees and give you a few extra minutes of beauty sleep.

Birds Are All Bark and No Bite

Whether you’re tired of having birds nesting around your home, the noise level is keeping you awake, or simply fed up with the lawn littered by their droppings, sending birds away doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are several preventative measures that you can take to deter birds from your trees:

  • Animal decoys – Predator birds and animals (owls, hawks, coyotes) can scare nuisance birds like sparrows and starlings away.
  • Netting – Blocks birds from plants and trees.
  • Shiny objects – Tying old CDs, foil lids and tins will distract them from landing or nesting.
  • Electronic devices – This method sends a signal, directing birds in another direction.

The Best Method of Bird Control

While many of these methods work, they typically don’t have a long-lasting effect. Animal decoys can be expensive and

require you to relocate frequently, and netting can develop large holes over time that allows the birds access to the tree. The most effective and efficient form of bird control is liquid bird-repellent.

RELATED: Chemical Bird Repellent vs. Electronic Bird Repellent

Why Liquid Bird Repellent?

Liquid bird repellent is an effective and efficient form of bird repellent that is great for long-term results. It deters birds from nesting in or landing on the treated areas around trees or homes and has a simple application process. It’

s suitable to use for many types of birds and maintains the look of surfaces without a visible residue. Want to learn out more about our liquid bird repellent? Fly on over to our website to see how Avian Enterprises can help you keep birds out of your trees.

Helpful Ways to Keep Birds Out of Your TreesLearn how you can protect your trees and home from birds with these helpful methods. Brand: Avian Enterprises Helpful Ways to Keep Birds Out of Your Trees

How to Get Rid of Birds in Your Trees

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When birds choose trees on your property as their roosting spot, you must be prepared for the noise and waste that results from their presence. Sometimes, birds can become quite a nuisance prompting you to seek a solution to rid your trees of them. Deterring the feathered creatures, instead of harming them, is likely the best solution, as there are many birds that are protected by local, state and federal laws.

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Remove all bird feeders or birdbaths in order to keep from encouraging birds to visit your property. The more hospitable you make the area, the more likely the birds will choose to roost in your trees.

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Prune the branches of the affected trees with pruning shears or a hack saw to thin out roosting areas. A little trimming may have a substantial effect.

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Cover your trees with nylon or plastic netting material to keep birds from landing in the branches. If you have fruit trees, netting will also prevent them from eating the fruit.

Play a recording of bird distress calls within hearing distance of the roosting area, beginning 1 1/2 hours before dark until dark, for five to seven evenings in a row. The distress calls signal to the birds that a predator has caught one of their own. It will disturb them and should eventually discourage them from roosting in the tree.

Make a hole in the side of an aluminum pie plate with a knife and insert a piece of string through the hole. Use a long enough piece of string so that you can tie the plate onto a tree branch. The shiny appearance and movement in the wind may make the birds nervous and unwilling to roost. The more plates you hang, the more effective it may be to deter the birds.

Five Steps to Safely and Humanely Remove Birds from Commercial Properties

In a garden or in a tree, birds are beautiful to watch and lovely to hear. In your building, however, birds can become annoying or even dangerous pests, especially for commercial properties.
Barriers are the best deterrents to nesting, but sometimes our winged friends can find a way around these defenses. Gable vents and attic windows can be particularly enticing for roosting birds, because they are sufficiently elevated and provide warmth throughout the winter.
Avoid poisons
Removing birds from a building isn’t always easy. Not only are poisons cruel and inhumane, they are often ineffective—only killing a small portion of the birds causing the problems. Poisons are additionally illegal in many parts of the world including the U.S. because of the negative impact that poisoned birds can have on the local ecosystem, and dead, decaying birds can attract other pests to create even worse problems.
Avoid trap-and-release
More often than not, trapping and releasing a bird doesn’t work. Birds can become injured or extremely stressed during the trapping process, which often leads to their death. Even if you are successful in relocating them, there’s a high probability they may return.
Here are five steps to humanely repel birds from your commercial building permanently:
1. Do your research. Some birds are members of a protected species, which makes their removal a legal issue. Find out what kind of bird you have first, and contact your local game commission or state wildlife agency to assist you if necessary. Learning about the type of bird you are dealing with can also inform you of its habits and give you an idea of how to best prevent it and its comrades from returning.
2. Evaluate the problem. You’ll also want to find out what is attracting the birds in the first place, and take steps to remove the enticement. This could mean removing nearby water sources such as fountains or other water collection pools, loose food sources, nearby bird feeders or even uncovered garbage bins. Some food and water sources can’t be removed (fruit trees, insects, neighboring feeders or fountains), which means the steps you take after the nest is removed are all the more important.
3. Check the nest for eggs or chicks. You won’t want to remove a nest containing eggs or chicks, especially if the bird is a protected species (many are). Don’t worry, though; all you have to do is wait. If the chicks haven’t hatched, they will soon; and after hatching, most chicks typically leave the nest in about two weeks. Once all the birds have left the nest, you can begin your removal process.
4. Remove the nest. Birds and their droppings can carry diseases and viruses that are harmful to humans, so use gloves to remove the nest and wear a respirator to protect from the many airborne diseases that can be transmittable to humans. Clean the areas with a heavy-duty disinfectant; this will remove the scents and markings birds use to identify safe nesting sites. When disposing of the nest, bag it up and tie it shut to prevent the attraction of predators.
5. Remediate. There are a variety of humane deterrents that have proven reliable at keeping birds from nesting in buildings:
• Bird spikes and perch repellents are a great way to prevent birds from returning. Smaller birds may not be deterred, but spikes will prevent larger birds like pigeons and crows from even landing, let alone building a nest. Spikes can become cluttered with debris and consequently be rendered ineffective, so be sure to clean the spikes if they become clogged.
• Sonic devices mimic the distress call of certain birds and/or the sounds of predators and have a high rate of deterrence. Do your homework, though: not all sonic bird system recordings are made with real, live-recorded bird distress sounds.
• Visual deterrents also serve as effective means of keeping birds away. These include plastic predators such as owls, snakes or coyotes or simple visual scares like holographic bird tape that reflects sunlight and makes noise in the wind. Change them regularly to keep birds guessing as to whether or not they are real.
• Install bird wire to prevent birds from nesting along ledges. Birds are naturally attracted to small open spaces that provide cover from wind, rain and predators. Building ledges, windows, and other spaces should be covered with netting or wire to prevent birds from entering.
• Install bird netting to physically block 100% of birds from spaces such as building siding and open spaces. This method is especially useful around areas with food or many ornate building details that create small spaces for birds to nest and perch. Virtually invisible from a distance, this is a professional solution with an exceptionally high rate of customer satisfaction.
This article was submitted by Bird-X, Inc., manufacturer of professional, humane, eco-friendly bird and pest control products for 50 years. The international company is based in Chicago, IL.

Keep Birds Out of Your Garden

Why do birds no longer come to feed?

Birds no longer come to feed in my garden.

To attract birds to your garden or to the window of your house, you have to create conditions that will attract them, and keep them coming back:

  • Create or build a bird feeder, or several.
  • Put appropriate food into the bird feeder.

To build a bird feeder, you can use a simple average-sized plastic bottle. Cut it in the middle at an angle and cover all of the sharp angles with a single-sided duct tape so that birds can perch there as well.

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Fill the bird feeder with crumbled bread, grain, and sunflower seeds. For full enjoyment, make sure you can observe the bird feeder from your window or garden. You can hang it on a tree branch by making four holes in the bird feeder and running a thread or a thin rope through these holes. Make sure that the bird feeder maintains balance. You can also attach the bird feeder to your window.

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It is important to let birds know that it is safe to approach food. Do not approach the birds, and do not scare them by rapid motions or shouting.

It is also possible that birds stopped coming to your garden owing to the nesting period of birds: they hatch eggs and cannot leave their nests for long. Also, if you had a bird feeder, they might have not liked the food or the amount of it. Experiment with food types.

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Before you put bird food out, do a little research. Different seeds will attract different birds. It’s also important to note that it’s a commitment to feed birds. Once you start, you should never let the feeders go empty.

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Want to repel birds from my balcony.

I live in a strata building and recently a neighbor decided to keep some lorikeets. The problem is, since he did all other birds are attracted to the building leaving droppings everywhere. I love birds and I don’t want to harm them, I just would like to find something they don’t like or are scared of to avoid them turning my balcony in a mess. Thank you very much. Kind regards

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You can install bird nets on your balcony that cover open balconies by nailing nets from outside. These are easily available and people come to install them.

How can I keep birds out of my garden. Especially sparrows?

These birds eat the leaves of my peas and beans, which destructs the plants.. I am in Namibia where products you might offer could possibly not be available at shops here.. I am using pest control spray but it doesn’t help much. I don’t know how to create a scary figure as you proposed

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What is the solution for birds eating flowers of my passion fruits?

I have tried: Used scarecrows. I think it was caused by: Birds are eating my passion fruit flowers and I want to keep them away.

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We have a 1-acre plot with numerous fruit trees. We are plagued by the sulfur crested cockatoo.

We have fruit trees and the sulfur crested cockatoos are stripping the apple trees. The apples are not ripe and they’ve become a large flock of 20 or so birds. They strip the trees bare. The plums are ripening and they will be attacking them next. The cockatoos normally strip the pine trees but are now taking a liking to the fruit trees here in Ulverstone, Tasmania.

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How to protect my passion fruit vine from birds?

Birds are eating my passion fruits before they get ripe. Is there a solution to prevent them? I have tried: A pesticide called ‘tresspass’. I think it was caused by: I don’t know

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

I recently posted a pic of my first harvest of homegrown strawberries on Instagram and our Facebook page and lots of folks were asking me “how to you keep critters and birds from eating them all!?”

This former city slicker learned quickly and I’m here to share.

Once my green berries were staring to turn red, I would excitedly go out each morning to see some of them munched on. By something. A nibbler. And the bites looked very triangular. A bird? I was going to let him/her enjoy a few, thinking that a couple losses was no big deal, until a few turned into every single one that was ripening.

I did some research and went out shopping to secure some bird netting right away.

I wrapped up my berries pronto…

… using sticks I found in the yard to lift the netting above the berries—I wanted to diminish any “landing” possibilities.

An hour or so later, I was milling about the yard and saw the culprit—Mr. Mockingbird—attempt to fly into my planter, only to be derailed by the netting.

Victory!

He wasn’t harmed, only bummed out I imagine. He tried one more time then perched on the deck, looked at the berry planter longingly and then flew away.

Sorry, Mr. Mockingbird. Those treasures are for future Almond Chia Yogurt, Strawberry Flax Salad and Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream.

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A few other humane repellents I recommend to keep nibblers at bay:
• Sprinkle your planter with cayenne pepper—one irritating, burning sniff and berry eaters will want to stay away. Make sure you rinse berries well before you consume them and don’t rub your eyes post-pickin’ until you wash your hands. This worked well for me and my garden last year, which was no doubt visited by some sort of walking animal(s) in the beginning of the season. Save money by shopping in bulk for cayenne—store in a recycled jar and label with a rubberband.


• Another natural bird repellent is homemade pepper spray. Blend together crushed red pepper, cayenne, apple cider vinegar (about 2 tbsp) and water. Fill a spray bottle and mist your planter well.

• Take some metallic tape and tie to a stick with a string so it can blow around (make sure both sides of the tape are metallic)—the sunlight hitting it will create a flash that will startle the birds and keep them away. Haven’t tried it, but I bet a silver pinwheel or three would work well, too.

• If you can, raise your planter. I didn’t plan this, but the fact that my planter is raised, helps keep walking critters away. I built a planter out of recycled fencing and it happened to look sweet/cute to me lifted off the ground with two little wooden tables. Serendipitous form and function I guess. This solution makes it so I only deal with birds after the berries, not mice or other furry friends on walkabout.

Hope this helps all of YU green thumbs out there harvest a ton of berries this season.

Keep your bird netting to reuse season after season, and note that it can be used for other tempting foods in your garden as well.

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Do you have any natural repellent ideas for keeping critters out of your garden? Help us all with your comment below.

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Need help with what to do in your garden?

Q What sort of damage do birds cause in the garden?

A Birds can be responsible for a wide range of damage, some serious, some just annoying. In autumn and winter they eat flower buds, strip ornamental berries, and attack brassicas. In spring they can destroy flowers, steal seeds and damage seedlings when dust-bathing. Summer damage includes taking fruit and pecking holes in turf.

Caption: A fruit cage will help birds away from your fruit

Q Which birds eat flower buds?

A Bullfinches are the master criminals in this respect, but hawfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, sparrows and tits are also culprits in some areas. Fruit trees, and ornamental trees and bushes, may be stripped of their dormant buds by birds in cold weather when other foods are scarce. Likely victims are almonds, flowering cherries, crab apples, lilacs, magnolias, rhododendrons and wisteria, as well as fruit trees. Large buds, like those found on magnolias for example, may be pecked rather than stripped off. The blooms will often open but they will be disfigured.

Ideally, grow fruit in a fruit cage that can be covered with netting in winter before the damage starts. Later, this will keep birds off the ripening fruit.

A cage can be costly and is not practical for large trees. Visual deterrents are the only alternative. The deterrents should be changed and moved frequently to avoid birds getting accustomed to them.

Q Which fruiting shrubs get stripped of berries first?

A Cotoneaster, berberis, ilex, pyracantha and sorbus tend to be among the first to be eaten. They form important food sources for birds, which are preparing for winter.

Q Which birds strip flowers?

A Tits searching for sweet nectar will peck camellias, sweet peas and rhododendrons. The most annoying damage is done by sparrows; they shred the flowers of spring plants like sweet peas, violets, polyanthus and crocus. The birds don’t seem to eat the flowers. Protect vulnerable plants with netting. Dark-coloured netting is less intrusive but more hazardous to birds as they can’t see it and may become entangled.

Q Which birds eat fruit and vegetables?

A Embryo fruits are grazed by bullfinches and ripe fruit is attacked by tits, starlings, pigeons, collared doves, blackbirds and thrushes. Peas, beans and sweetcorn are eaten by jays. Leafy vegetables are attractive to wood pigeons and collared doves, especially in winter when their favourite foods such as clover are unavailable. In fact, growing clover between your winter brassicas may entice birds to eat this, rather than your precious crop. The clover will generally recover and can be dug in later in the year.

A temporary covering of netting over low-growing plants should do the job, but remember that pigeons, collared doves and other large birds can do serious damage quickly, so act as soon as you see damage being done. Be careful to secure the netting well or cats and birds can get trapped in it and sometimes tragically killed.

Caption: Netting strawberries will help prevent birds eating the fruit

Q Do birds eat grass seed?

A Newly sown lawns and other seed beds are raided by seed-eaters such as sparrows which can damage large quantities of seed. Even indoor seeds in greenhouses are not safe. If the seeds have been neatly dug out, mice are the likely culprits.

Sparrows are the main seedbed bathers. Young seedlings are grazed by larks, sparrows and pheasants.

Low-growing plants and seedbeds can be protected by covering them with horticultural fleece. This will keep off birds and should boost the plants’ growth so they grow out of the vulnerable stage more quickly.

Caption: Protect newly sown grass from birds to stop them eating the seeds

Q Which birds feed in turf?

A Large birds in search of soil insects like ants, chafer grubs or leatherjackets, can make holes in turf. Blackbirds, crows, rooks, starlings, green woodpeckers and magpies are the birds usually responsible. Serious damage is more likely to be the work of badgers, foxes or squirrels seeking or burying food.

If you reduce the insect population in the turf, you may lessen the damage caused by birds. Leatherjackets, a common insect pest of turf, can be forced to the surface by watering the lawn with a dilute solution of washing-up liquid or mild disinfectant. If only a small area is affected, you can soak the ground with water and cover it with a sheet of black polythene. Leatherjackets are grey-brown, legless grubs, up to 5cm long. Either sweep them off the lawn, or leave them for the birds. On larger areas, try treating the grass with biological controls for chafer grubs when the soil is warm – in April or May. There are no chemicals available to kill soil insects.

Q Which areas of the garden are most at risk from birds?

A Bird damage is most likely near trees, bushes and hedges. It is less likely in areas where there is not much vegetation. Pigeons are an exception. They will search out vegetation anywhere in winter, and are especially numerous where oilseed rape is grown.

Many birds are shy and avoid people, so planting flowering or fruiting trees near the house may help protect them.

Q Can I control the birds in my garden?

A Birds are protected by law, so only specially trained and licensed people are able to control them.

Noisy deterrents are only suitable if you live a good distance from other people. These devices are very intrusive and need to go off around dawn, when birds are actively feeding. In our testing we found ultrasonic deterrents worked well and are generally inaudible.

The traditional remedy of threading black or other cotton over vulnerable plants is not recommended these days as birds can easily get entangled. Coloured threads also spoil the appearance of ornamental plants.

Q Which bird deterrents work?

A Visual deterrents like flapping, reflective scarers, toy cats, hawk replicas or scarecrows may work for a while, but birds soon become accustomed to them. Our testing found kites in the shape of birds of prey worked best out of these types of deterrent.

Netting vulnerable plants works well if the plants are small enough. Don’t leave any gaps in the netting. You should check the netting at least twice a day in case a bird has become entangled. Using brightly coloured netting and keeping it taut will help reduce the risk of this happening.

Wire chicken netting is a more costly but longer-lasting solution. It is also tangle-proof. Use a 2cm net to exclude small birds and the cheaper 6.5cm net to keep out pigeons and other larger birds.

Caption: Brassicas benefit from being protected by netting to keep off pigeons in winter

Q Is there anything I can spray on to deter birds?

A There are many repellents on the market that claim to deter birds. The liquid repellent we tried worked for around a week before we saw crop damage.

Q How can I encourage birds into my garden, without getting damaged plants?

A Encourage insect-eating birds such as robins and blue tits by putting out food and putting up nesting boxes. In return, they will help keep down the insect pest population in your garden.

Q Will feeding birds encourage damage in the garden?

A It appears that feeding birds may give them more time and energy to do damage. However, most people feed birds, and hope for the best.

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