Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Keep Birds From Damaging Your Garden Vegetables

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017

Although birds most often attack fruit trees and shrubs, they can be just as damaging to your vegetable garden. Birds like to munch on corn and sunflower plants, and even pick seeds right out of the ground after they are planted. Birds are able to adjust to and get around traditional deterrents. The key to keeping birds from damaging your garden vegetables may not be the type of deterrent you employ, but the practice of changing up your deterrents often.

Secure netting around your vegetable plants. Fasten the netting to the stems or trunks of the vegetable plants so that the birds cannot access the vegetables from underneath the plant. If you don’t want the netting to touch the growing vegetables, tent the netting using bamboo canes.

Try old-fashioned foil strips, scarecrows and plastic owls. These are not the best bird deterrents, but they can be effective if you use foil strips in early spring and change deterrents every month.

Deter birds with a Scare Windmill. The next time birds are eyeing your sweet corn or tomato plants, this product will make them think twice before diving into your garden. Scare Windmills have blades coated with UV light-reflecting paint that confuses birds because the blades look to them like flapping wings belonging to a flock of birds. This is an effective visual scare device that can repel birds up to two acres away.

Use an audio scare device to repel birds. Play recordings of bird distress calls in a random order. Play recordings of distress calls made by the species of birds that are invading your vegetable garden.

Get a scarecrow that doubles as a sprinkler to discourage birds. An ultra-modern scarecrow is available that has a battery-powered, motion-detecting lawn sprinkler. When a bird sets off the motion sensor, the sprinkler sprays it with water, chasing it away.


Things You Will Need

  • Netting
  • Foil strips
  • Plastic owls
  • Scare Windmill
  • Audio scare device
  • Scarecrow sprinkler


  • Switch up your deterrent methods every month or so. Animals can get used to many deterrents, so you'll need to try new methods and move the location of your deterrent devices.


  • Don't install an audio scare device without first checking your city noise ordinances and talking with your neighbors. You don't have to play the recordings loudly for them to be effective.
  • Don't use toxic chemicals in or around your vegetable garden to deter birds. Use only chemicals approved by the Environmental Protection Agency that are safe for animals, children and edible plants.

About the Author


Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.