How to keep birds out of a garden

We often go to great lengths to attract birds to our yards. They can be very enjoyable to watch, and beneficial as pest control and pollinators. There are dozens of clever and colorful feeders on the, market today, and special foods formulated to attract different types of birds. Unfortunately, even the most beautiful song bird, or acrobatic flyer can become a nuisance bird. When birds start eating crops and destroying gardens, nesting in bothersome places, or leaving piles of droppings on plants and equipment they soon become a liability. Here is a simple to follow 5 step plans to help rid your gardens of nuisance birds once and for all.

Step 1
Birds, like most wild animals are driven by basic needs: food, water, and shelter. The most important step in ridding your land of nuisance birds is to make food unavailable to them. This not only includes feed, pet foods and garbage, but your gardens, berry bushes, and fruit trees as well. A good way to do this without harming your plants is to cover them. There is a wide variety of affordable netting and landscape cloth available on the market today. Use inexpensive landscape netting, or any type of lightweight net to cover trees and plants. Landscape netting can allow ample sunlight for your plants to filter through while protecting them from the ravenous advances of birds. After trying to gain access to access your plants for a few days, the birds will soon realize there is a barrier between them and their target (your precious plants) under the netting. Once they realize they can no longer access the food, the birds will move on in search of other more accessible hunting grounds. Leave your netting up for the rest of the growing season to keep destructive birds from relocating back to your fields and gardens.

Step 2
Another priority for birds is an ample water supply for drinking and bathing. Eliminate sources of standing water. Not only do bodies of water allow for a watering hole and bath for the birds, it breeds mosquitoes for them to eat. Remove all outside water sources including pools, ponds, fountains, animal waterers, and bird baths. If it is practical to remove your water sources, then try deterrents such as adding plastic owls, rubber snakes, spinning Mylar whirligigs, or Scarecrow type deterrents. Using these scare tactics can often make the birds move on. You can also find sonic emitters, electronic devices that let out a high pitched sound, designed to drive birds away.

Step 3
The final need for birds is a safe place to nest/roost and raide their young... Take stock of the lay of the land. Modifying your landscape by making simple changes can make your property less attractive to wild birds. Most Birds prefer dense cover in which to hide, nest, and feed. Heavy brush, dense thickets and vines make perfect cover. If your property also has dead trees for nesting and to provide protection from predators, and it’s a bird’s paradise. Clean up your yard and eliminate all these areas where birds can hide and breed. Getting rid of this wild growth and deadfall will make the birds want to move on to somewhere that they can create their own habitat- not on your property.

Step 4
Remove all convenient outside food sources that the birds can easily access. Animal feeders such as bird feeders, squirrel feeders and even pet or livestock food is a serious temptation to many birds. So is garbage that is not properly contained or exposed rubbish heaps. Many plants, trees and flowers that grow in your yard can be a favorite meal for nuisance birds too. Most folks are not willing to dig up their flower beds, plants, or trees, but our handy scarecrow tactics mentioned in Step 2 can work in flowerbeds as well. The more flowers you grow, the more birds you can feed so if you can eliminate any plants or flowers, perhaps dead or dying plants that will help. .

Step 5
As we mentioned Animal feed and pet food can be a great temptation to birds in your yard. But can also Move any pet food and water located outdoors inside and establish routine feedings for your pet. Pet food is one of the most common attractants for wild birds. If you have livestock or poultry, keep their feed in sealed containers, and clear up any uneaten feed. In April 2007 The World Health Organization released information on avian influenza as it pertains to domestic animals contracting avian influenza as well as a variety of other diseases from affected birds. It is most often caused through food cross-contamination. Other diseases such as types of blood fever can also be spread through droppings. If you are still unable to rid your property of nuisance birds, it is time to contact your local wildlife service, or call an animal removal service. These are trained professionals that can quickly assess your bird problems and formulate a plan to help you successfully get rid of the birds in question.

One of the very first things you should do when trying to keep certain birds out of your garden, such as pigeons or other nuisance types, is to remove all food sources. You might want to feed the ‘nicer’, less problematic birds out there, but by constantly putting food out, you're attracting the pests you're trying to get rid of.

You could opt for a range of repellents and deterrents, including noise and light machines, foil strips hung from trees and fences, scarecrows, and even dummies and decoys. Many of these will need to be moved around from time to time, to prevent the birds from getting used to them. If they learn that the repellents can't actually harm them in any way, they aren't going to pay a lot of attention to them. 

You should pay attention to where the birds are landing, nesting, roosting, etc. If they keep landing on your roof, or on the chimney stack, or on a window ledge, put things in place to stop them from being able to do so. Spike strips are particularly effective on flat ledges when properly installed, and there are plenty of alternatives, such as sticky gels and bird netting. You could even look at buying and installing a deterrent that sounds out bird distress calls to signal to the birds that danger is close by.