How to Prevent Damage to Fruits & Vegetables by Birds

Overview

Many gardeners must seriously combat birds to save their beloved fruits and vegetables. A large variety of birds can seriously damage the home garden. Crows, starlings, grackles, robins, orioles, woodpeckers and blackbirds are notorious for their destructive behavior. The birds are simply doing what comes naturally and feasting on a large smorgasbord of foods. There are several steps that a home gardener can take to protect their beloved vegetables and fruits.

Step 1

Install an actual scarecrow in the home garden or orchard. These have been used on farms for hundreds of years with success. Birds are afraid of unknown objects. Bright streamers can be fastened to a pole and lightweight pans can be hung up to move in the wind and clang. Long ropes of bells are often used with success because they are reflective and make noise. Adult birds scare easier than young birds by these devices. Plastic hawks and other fake predators can also be purchased to scare away birds.

Step 2

Purchase an alarm system to install in the garden or orchard. There are several professional manufacturers that market these devices. They work by emitting a distress call of a bird in trouble. When birds hear this sound, they will steer clear. Other devices emit an unpleasant acoustical noise that interferes with the bird's hearing and deters it from landing in the location of the unpleasant noise.

Step 3

Spray a product that contains methyl anthranilate onto the fruits and vegetables you want saved. Birds do not like the odor or taste of this chemical. It is safe for human consumption and approved for use on human foods. Many products contain methyl anthranilate for this purpose. Simply follow the directions on the label. The chemical will need to be reapplied every few days and after a heavy rain.

Step 4

Spread bird netting across vegetable gardens and around fruit trees. Birds are afraid of becoming ensnared in the netting and will stay away from the area.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never shoot birds. Never poison birds.

Things You'll Need

  • Bird netting, 5/8-inch
  • Scarecrow
  • Plastic predator
  • Streamers
  • Acoustic noise machine
  • Lightweight pans

References

  • Food And Fertilizer Technology Center: Damage To Crops By Birds
  • Internet Center For Wildlife Management
  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Who Can Help

  • Farm Radio: Prevent Bird Damage To Crops
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