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birds sitting in garden eating plants and flowers

How To Stop Birds Eating Plants

Everything You Need To Know

You know how it goes. You spend a few hours a day for weeks in order to get a good-looking garden. You look after plants and flowers – even add some fertilizer. You compensate for the lack of water, and you keep them happy. Whether it comes to flowers or actual fruits and vegetables, unexpected situations arise when least expected. You get outside, and some of your plants have been eaten away. You look at the fruits, and you see them removed from branches or even eaten away. Even your vegetables are out of the ground.

It is not your fault. Birds are great to have around for pest control, a feeling of nature, and their beautiful songs, but then, they can also ruin everything for you. There are times when particular species can destroy your garden. Everything is a mess – such a waste of both time and money. Luckily, learning how to stop birds from eating plants is not that difficult. Even if this year is compromised, you can always get ready for the next one. Here is everything you need to know.

Understanding how nuisance birds can become a problem

Most birds are actually invited to most gardens. They are nice to have around, and they also help. They can eat particular pests and insects and can help you get rid of slugs. In other words, they can help keep your plants in good condition. But then, there are also birds that are not very welcome because they have the capability to ruin everything.

One of the main reasons people want birds away is related to health and safety. The more birds you have around, the more exposed you are to all kinds of things. It may also be a good idea to keep certain species away if you have kids or pets hanging around – they are more sensitive and can catch diseases quite easily. Simply put, some species out there can carry various diseases, viruses, and parasites.

There are a few different diseases that birds can pass on to you, especially if your immune system is not the best. For example, cryprococcosis is a fungal infection you can get from fungi in the ground, as well as fungi found in bird droppings. Histoplasmosis is quite similar – anyone can have it. Elders and kids are more exposed, though, and signs are similar to the symptoms of pneumonia. Psittacosis, on the other hand, is caused by bacteria found in droppings.

Now, back to your garden, do birds eat plants? Yes, they do, and yes, they love them. Certain species have an appetite for small things, like seeds. You plant everything, only to realize nothing comes out because seeds are not there anymore. Then, some birds like pulling small plants out of the ground. When they leave them behind, they make sure to eat away at them. Not only is it irritating, but it can cause financial loss too.

Apart from ruining your crops, birds can also peck at crops and affect the final result. Plus, they can affect the soil conditions, meaning you will need further treatments. Luckily, learning how to keep birds from eating garden plants is not as difficult as you may think.

Before targeting birds eating plants, it is imperative to treat them humanely. After all, both people and birds share the same environment. It is not their fault for going for things they actually like. Shooting or killing them will not help your case either, as other birds will take over. Furthermore, in many parts of the world, killing wild birds – or certain species – is illegal, so you could get in trouble.

Birds that eat plants can be deterred without too much hassle. There is one thing you need to know though. Most of the methods to prevent birds from eating plants will work against most types of birds. In other words, you will also keep friendly birds away. Therefore, expect to see less of your feathered friends around. Your feeders, baths and houses will also see less birds. It is just the consequence of trying to keep problematic birds away.

use visual deterrens and sound machines

Use reflections to stop birds eating your flowers

Most birds dislike reflective things. They hate anything that is shiny. Their eyes are not the best, so they can get confused when they see something shiny. Therefore, they try to avoid such things. Now, which of your plants do birds seem to prefer? Once you identify the affected area, there are a few things you will have to buy – some scotch tape, reflective tape, and stakes.

Shove a couple of stakes on each side of the plant row, then tie the reflective tapes to them. Basically, you need to aim for a banner covering the plants. Opt for relatively wide tape for maximum efficiency – it should be about seven inches in width. If the affected area is larger than that, simply add a few more stakes and some extra tape. You need to ensure the tap does not sag, or its reflective purpose will be diminished. This is probably the best thing you can do when trying to keep birds eating crops away.

If the problem is urgent and you do not feel like wasting too much money on all these things, you can also use some CDs. Find some old CDs in your house – the type no one listens to anymore. Everyone has some CDs around their homes. This is the right time to take advantage of them, rather than hoard. Use a few stakes, drag a string above the plants and take it through the center holes of your CDs. Basically, these CDs will move and reflect light. Indeed, the final outcome will not look great. But then, it will keep birds away, and that is your main purpose.

There are a few health and safety rules to remember when learning how to stop birds from eating plants. For example, no matter what reflective things you use for your garden, make sure they do not affect people around you either. For example, they should not be facing roads because they can distract, annoy and disturb drivers, causing accidents. On another note, these reflective things should not be aimed at a single thing only, as this is a risk for a fire.

How to keep birds off plants with some music and noise

Birds get scared very easily. They know that pretty much everything on the ground can harm them, especially if it moves. From this point of view, a portable radio will make your life easier. Place it by the plants you want to protect, and it should help against birds. The noise coming from your radio will keep birds away, but then, there is a drawback. If you want a super quiet garden and no background noises, the radio sound may disturb you a little.

Apart from music, there are more things you can play. For example, you can get a CD with nothing but bird sounds – make sure you get some recording of distressed birds. Such noises will terrify birds around your property. You can also get noises that bird predators tend to make. Then again, make sure they will not disturb you or your neighbors.

With these thoughts in mind, this may not necessarily be the best idea if you live in a crowded place or you have lots of neighbors around your home. Most of them will dislike the noises and you will get some complaints. You risk irritating them and having them knock on your door – there is nothing to worry about if you find yourself in this situation, as there are more options out there.

use visual deterrens and sound machines

Employ some scare tactics when birds are eating your plants

Birds eating my plants? There are lots of scare tactics you can employ – in fact, most people would rather opt for such ideas because they are quiet and less likely to disturb neighbors. There are various things you can hang around the garden around plants that birds look for. For instance, as simple as they are, balloons are actually incredibly efficient. Opt for some Halloween balloons with scary faces or colors drawn on them.

You can even buy classic balloons, as they are cheaper. Once they are full of air, use some markers to draw scary faces on them. Not only will the design scare birds, but having balloons moving in the air will add to the actual effect. The only drawback of this idea is the fact that balloons will need to be replaced or reinflated on a regular basis – the good news is they are cheap, though.

Pesky birds – such as crows – are easily deterred by scarecrows. This is a classic solution out there. You see scarecrows everywhere – in gardens or all over fields as you drive through the countryside. Scarecrows are old school, popular and efficient – otherwise, they would no longer be in use. Place them in strategic places, and they will look like people around your plants, so birds will avoid them. Again, they may not look very beautiful, but they get the job done. Make sure they are dressed up in loose clothes, as they move whenever the weather is a bit windy.

How to keep birds away from flowers with some decoys

Bird-eating plants can be easily deterred with the right decoys. Decoys are extremely efficient and will keep birds away from your plants. This is a middle choice between efficient deterrents and good-looking objects. Basically, they are still efficient, but some of them look like decorative items and can actually complete your garden.

There are all kinds of decoys out there, and you can buy them from more stores. You can check out hardware stores or specific gardening stores – lots of options. The most common decoy resembles an owl. Basically, it looks like a realistic owl, and it has shiny eyes. Most birds are afraid of prey birds, so they will obviously avoid the garden. There is a trick though – birds will get closer and closer. As they see there is no harm, the owl decoy will lose its efficiency overtime. Therefore, you need to move it from one place to another every now and then.

The more often you move the decoy, the better. If you can do it daily, birds will never come close to your plants again. To stop pigeons eating plants – as well as other birds, you might as well add some noise to your owl. Bring the radio out and put on some owl noises.

There is one drawback associated with decoys, though. Most birds are quite intelligent. With time, they will realize that the decoy is fake. To keep it efficient, you would have to purchase new stuff every once in a while. Otherwise, birds may no longer be scared of it.

Other options

There is one general rule when it comes to birds. The less inviting your property is, the better. Birds like to perch around while looking for food. Therefore, try to make most areas uncomfortable for them by leaving no room for perching. Netting is a good choice. Upside down baskets are also useful, as well as crates. Fences and railings can be coated with repellent gel. All these things will add up to the protection of your garden, leading to less problems in the long run.


As a short final conclusion, learning how to stop birds from eating plants is not that difficult if you understand how birds think. There are more options out there, and what works for some birds may not work for all of them. Besides, you might need to employ a few different techniques to keep birds away from your plants and flowers.

Failing to look after your plants will lead to significant expenses in the long run. But at the same time, no matter how annoying and destructive birds are, it is still important to treat them humanely. Deterring birds is usually the way to go. Killing them will never work, as new birds will come over rather sooner than later.

Written by James Laverne

April 16th 2021

Avatar author James Laverne

Hi, I'm James! With over 25 years of anti-pest experience, I am writing this blog to help you birdproof your home. Get in touch if you have any questions. Happy reading!


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