Birds are important creatures in our environment. For those who have a botanical or flower garden, these animals help in pollination and pest control. In fact, gardeners even plant specific types of flowers to attract birds and bees.
However, not all gardeners would want to welcome birds in their space, especially those who own a vegetable garden. This is because birds often like to devour harvests, leaving farmers and gardeners with damaged crops.
Although you do not want birds to flock into your garden, they, in general, still play a huge role in our ecosystem. For this reason, it is important to keep them out of your garden without having the need to harm them in any way.
Listed below are the various tips you can follow to keep birds out of your vegetable garden without hurting them.
1. Use Nylon Netting
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to keep birds out of your vegetable garden is by making a barrier using garden netting. But you want to use netting that still allows beneficial insects to pollinate your plants.
In addition, make sure to also use netting with a hole that is smaller than half an inch since larger holes can snag bird beaks, heads, or legs.
Also, it is recommended to buy netting that is of high quality and is UV-resistant. Just like with other items that you purchase, investing in a more expensive yet higher quality netting will ensure that the netting is durable enough to last for a long time.
2. Cover Your Small Crops With a Garden Fleece
Garden fleece is a white material that is typically used to protect harvests from frosts during winter. However, you can install it year-round to protect smaller crops from birds and other wildlife.
To use it, drape the garden fleece over your crops and use rocks or any heavy material on both sides to secure it. When it is time to harvest, you can simply roll back the fleece.
3. Lay Chicken Wire on the Ground
Covering the ground with chicken wire is a way to protect seedlings from birds. The wire makes it hard for the birds to scratch or peck the plants. Once seedlings start to grow, you can raise the wire on stakes for continuous protection.
4. Place Plastic Predators in Your Garden
Plastic predators such as owls and falcons are an effective way to scare off birds from eating your crops. If you can find a decoy that can move or make sounds, it’s better to invest in those items. You can also use a toy snake and place it in your garden bed for the same purpose.
If you consider using plastic predators, make sure to relocate them often in the garden. If you place your decoy in one place permanently, it will not take long for the bird to realize that those decoys are harmless.
5. Use a Terror Eyes Balloon
A terror eyes balloon is a big, inflatable, lightweight balloon that moves along with the wind. The balloon is yellow in color and has a large pair of eyes printed on it, hence the name. Indeed, it is an effective way to deter birds from your vegetable garden.
Terror eyes balloons are widely available – they can be found in your local gardening store, or you can also purchase them online.
6. Place a Scarecrow in Your Garden
Like terror eyes balloons and plastic decoys, using a scarecrow is also an effective way to scare off birds. Just make sure to move it often, and you may also need to change its clothes from time to time to make it more realistic.
If you choose to make your own scarecrow, it is important to ensure that you use light yet sturdy materials so you won’t have a hard time carrying your DIY scarecrow from one place to another.
7. Use Wind Chimes
A wind chime is an item that makes sudden sounds and movements, which makes it a perfect deterrent for birds. However, if you decide to use wind chimes, make sure to place them in your vegetable garden. Otherwise, they will be ineffective if they are far away from your crops.
8. Own a Pet That Could Deter Birds
What’s better than having a real predator to protect your garden? By owning a dog, especially those bred to protect their family and property, you’ll have a companion that will chase off birds trying to steal crops from your garden.
If you’re more of a cat person, you can also use your cat to chase away birds. However, your cat may use the ground as a litterbox, so make sure that they always have access to their litterbox to prevent them from digging into your soil.
The problem is that pets are only effective when they are in your garden. You cannot keep your pet in your garden all the time, so it is best to combine this tactic with the other tips mentioned in this article.
9. Create a Stick Barricade
To protect seedlings, make a stick barricade around each plant. You can use sticks from your yard to do this. This will surely keep birds out of your crop. However, you may have a hard time harvesting your crops because of the jungle of sticks, so remove the sticks when the plants are bigger.
10. Place Garden Spinners in Your Garden
As mentioned before, birds are afraid of sudden movements and noises, which is why having a garden spinner in your garden is a great idea. To maximize its use, this colorful, wind-activated item should be moved from time to time, like all the other items mentioned above.
11. Use Cds or Other Reflective Items
Aside from being scared of sudden movements and noises, birds are also not fond of flashing lights. Therefore, using an old CD, a broken mirror, or reflective items will surely send them away from your vegetable garden.
Hang your reflective items on trees and bushes, but make sure to move them every two weeks or so to maintain their effectiveness.
12. Surround Your Crops With Annuals
Some birds, such as pigeons, are not fond of searching through flowers, which is why planting annuals around your crops is a great way to deter such birds.
While all the things mentioned above are proven ways to keep birds away from your garden, they are only effective if executed properly. Keep in mind that birds are not stupid. If they see that decoy at the same spot for weeks, they will realize that those are not harmful but only an ornament in your vegetable garden.
You can also combine these tips together and experiment with which among these works best for you. Just make sure not to resort to inhumane ways as birds play an important role in our ecosystem.