If you're an avid gardener, chances are you spend hours each week planting, watering, weeding, and making sure your crops or flowers are well cared for. Unfortunately, nuisance birds will also try to reap the benefits of all that hard work. In addition to destroying your garden, the feces of nuisance birds can harbor several diseases that dangerous for your family and pets, including histoplasmosis, salmonella, and E. Coli.
Don't allow birds to take over your backyard garden. Instead, follow these simple tips to keep them out.
Provide the Birds with an Alternate Food Source
The idea of providing nuisance birds with food might seem counterintuitive because the readily-available treats might attract unwanted birds to your yard. Unfortunately, if you're planning to begin a garden or have had one for years, the aroma will also draw birds to your backyard. Planting flowers, vines, or trees to sacrifice to the birds or filling feeders with birdseed will help prevent nuisance birds from dining on your garden.
Plant the foliage in an area that is far away from your garden and easily accessible to the birds. Keep any pets away from this area to avoid deterring birds.
Several types of foliage are native to California and will attract birds, including:
- Dogwood trees
In addition to planting these and other types of foliage to attract birds to a separate area of your yard, placing bird feeders will also help keep birds out of your garden. Make sure the feeders are well-stocked. If you want to avoid having squirrels invade the feeders, avoid placing them near your trees and invest in a squirrel-proof feeder or a squirrel baffle, which affixes to the top of the feeder.
Invest in Bird Netting
No matter the size of your garden, bird netting is an effective way to keep birds at bay. You can find several different types of netting, and the one you choose will depend on your budget and how much garden you need to cover.
Here are a few of the different bird netting options to consider:
- Polypropylene netting. Made from a durable type of plastic, this type of netting won't conduct electricity and, depending on the size, will keep out several different types of nuisance birds, including pigeons, sparrows, and starlings.
- Lightweight plastic netting. This netting is more cost-effective and can be used to protect your garden from a variety of birds as well.
- Knotted netting. This netting features knots at the mesh intersections, which makes it very strong and an ideal choice if the birds are able to get through knotless netting.
- Knotless netting. A better option if your budget is tight, this type of netting will keep out several species of smaller birds.
Bird netting is available in a variety of colors, sizes, and with different mesh sizes. You can also purchase nets that are tossed over bushes, raised off the ground above the garden, or that protect the garden from all sides.
Scare the Birds Away
Another common strategy that is often effective at keeping birds out of the garden is to scare them away. You have several options, depending on your needs, budget, and the size of your garden, including:
- Scarecrow. A classic option, this scaring device can be purchased or built with items found in your garage. Place the scarecrow in an area where it’s easily visible to the birds.
- Reflective items. From aluminum foil strips to specialty tape, when the light reflects off these items, it can confuse and frighten away the birds.
- Scare decoys. Plastic owls, hawks, coyotes, and brightly-colored balloons with large eyes — several varieties of decoys are available. Place these throughout your garden.
- Motion-activated devices. When a bird flies by the garden, the device will spray water or emit a loud noise that will startle the birds away. If the birds are attacking your garden at night, you can also use a device that features a light.
These scare tactics can be used on their own or in combination throughout your garden, no matter the size.
Seek the Help of Professionals
If you've tried everything or if the bird problem is out of control and you cannot handle it on your own, it's time to call a professional. A pest control agent can help you determine the best options to eliminate birds from your property. After a comprehensive examination of your garden and property, they will provide you with a game plan that will help you eliminate the birds without harming the vegetation, your family, and pets.
From scare decoys and bird netting to the help of a professional pest control agency, you have a variety of strategies to try to keep nuisance birds out of your backyard garden. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at Greenleaf Organic Pest Management.