Last Updated on May 25, 2022 by Marco C.
Keeping birds away from your plants will definitely be a problem if you’re gardening outdoors and learning how to keep birds from eating seedlings is one of the most important steps you’ll have to take. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at all the damage birds can deal with seedlings, as well as adult plants, and learn how to defend your garden!
There are a few things that birds will naturally be afraid of. The most popular deterrent is the scarecrow. Birds are more than intelligent enough to recognize the shape of a scarecrow and connect it with humans. Because they’re most afraid of humans, they won’t want to approach a garden with a scarecrow in it.
However, in most instances, the scarecrow is only a temporary solution, as birds will soon learn that the scarecrow isn’t an actual human being. Then, you’ll wake up one morning and see a flock of birds picking at your veggies, while a group sits on top of the scarecrow!
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The second idea that often works is a sprinkler. Sprinklers are especially useful during spring and summer because you have to use them either way – even if you don’t have a problem with birds. No animal naturally wants to be sprayed with water and it will definitely scare the birds off.
You can also install motion-activated sprinklers.
Another thing birds are afraid of is certain sounds. Although you can scare most animals with a scent, birds are more reactive to sound than to scent! There are very effective bird-deterring sounds you can find online, and playing them through a loudspeaker will definitely have an effect.
Lastly, we have the most reliable solution of all time – let a dog into your garden. Most people are very reluctant when it comes to letting a dog into their garden because they’re afraid that the dog will rip into the plants. Without lying – that’s entirely possible. But you can also teach your dog to avoid walking over your plants.
Some dogs have the natural instinct to defend their territory. A dachshund would be perfect for this role – they’re small but athletic and vigilant. These dogs will definitely scare off any bird, just make sure to teach them that destroying plants isn’t acceptable.
Putting up physical barriers to prevent birds from entering your garden is very effective. Nets are the most popular type of barrier used for this purpose, with some people improvising by using fishing nets. This is a very common practice in vineyards, as grapes are often vulnerable to birds.
You can buy massive vineyard nets, literally hundreds and hundreds of feet long, and roll them all over your garden. However, for this to actually be a viable solution, you have to install plenty of poles that will hold your net up. A net this large is also very susceptible to strong winds, and if there are any in your area, you’ll probably have to keep fixing your net over and over again.
Smaller nets are also an option – covering a smaller garden or a framework is very easy with a smaller net. These nets are much easier to manage than large nets that cover the entire garden.
When it comes to seedlings themselves, the best way to protect them is with soda bottles – just cut the bottle in half, wash it, and put it over the seedling, pushing it into the ground a little bit. That way, the seedling will remain protected as most birds can’t knock over a plastic bottle. It’s important that the soda bottle is transparent so the seedling gets enough sunlight.
Lastly, we have a very practical solution used by gardeners for decades – use a simple fishing line. Just stick a few poles into the ground around your plants and buy plenty of fishing lines. Make a complex netting on your own (which is usually much cheaper than the nets you’ll find in stores) and you’ll see that the birds won’t be able to break through it.
How Do Birds Hurt Plants?
They mostly hurt it by eating. Not all birds eat everything, and most of them will eat fruit before anything else. But there are bird species that will eat vegetables too and they can ruin crops very easily. Fruits, however, are usually the most vulnerable plants in your garden and they’ll be the most sought-after food.
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Do I need to protect seedlings from birds?
That depends on the bird population in your area. If you don't have birds invading your garden, spending money on protection is most likely a waste of money and time. However, if you have birds eating fruits and vegetables, you definitely need to protect seedlings.
How do I keep birds from eating my plants?
You can both deter and physically stop birds from attacking your plants. Use a net, or make your own, to stop them from approaching your plants. As for deterrent, it'd be best to let a naturally-vigilant dog (such as the dachshund) in the back yard, but scarecrows and loud sounds work too.
Which birds eat seedlings?
More or less all birds, except for scavengers and birds of prey, will eat seedlings. This isn't a question of species, but a question of area - if you don't have any birds in your area, you won't have to defend your garden.
How do I protect my garden seedlings?
The most effective way of protection for seedlings is by cutting a transparent, plastic bottle in half, washing it and covering the seedlings with it. This way, your plant will get plenty of light, but birds won't be able to reach it!
Birds can deal a lot of damage to your garden with their pecking, so it’s important to defend it. It’d be best to let a dog into your garden to scare the birds off, but you can also use a sprinkler and nets. To protect your seedlings, simply cover them with half a bottle, which will disallow the birds from reaching them!