by Alex A. Kecskes
A beautiful garden can be a joy to behold. It reflects the hours of work and care you put into it—the feeding and weeding and spraying for bugs. But unless you exercise some form of effective bird control, your well-tended garden can quickly be ruined by pest birds. Vegetable and fruit gardens are particularly vulnerable. While a few songbirds can add a certain ambiance to a garden, gathering flocks of birds—like crows, pigeons, finches—can destroy ripening fruit and vegetables. They can leave droppings everywhere, turning your garden into a smelly, disease-carrying mess.
The only way to protect your garden is with proven effective bird deterrents. And the best way to ensure your garden won’t be attacked by flocks of pest birds is to implement these bird deterrents before your fruits and vegetables ripen.
Here are three of today’s most popular and effective pest bird deterrents:
Plastic Bird Netting
Creating a physical barrier that denies birds access to specific areas of your garden, Plastic Bird Netting offers a humane, low profile bird deterrent. The netting usually comes in 14 x 100-foot and 14 x 200-foot rolls and three different mesh sizes. There’s a 1/4-inch mesh for smaller birds and a 1/2-inch mesh and a 3/4-inch mesh for larger birds. The best plastic bird netting is fabricated from durable, U.V.-protected polypropylene. This netting is strong, light, easy to handle and virtually invisible.
Install bird netting before your garden bears fruit or vegetables. Suspend the netting over your bushes or vines by at least 6 inches. Protect vegetables by wrapping individual plants in netting or suspend the netting around an entire garden area. To safeguard fruit trees, measure the circumference of the tree and cut the net to size (allow at least one foot extra around the circumference). Secure the netting with twine, zip ties, or hog rings.
Sonic Bird Deterrents
These devices broadcast bird distress and predator calls that make birds feel too uneasy to stay in your garden. The sounds resemble normal bird sounds, so they won’t irritate your pets, friends or neighbors. One highly versatile sonic system can emit distress and predator calls for 22 different species of birds. This unit covers up to an acre of land and can be programmed to turn on or off at night.
Visual Bird Deterrents
Ideally, you would want to use Visual Bird Deterrents in conjunction with the two deterrents mentioned above. These consist of Flash Tape and Reflective Banners, which reflect sunlight and snap in the breeze to make birds too nervous to feed. Also included in this category are Scare Eye Diverters and Bird Scare Balloons—both feature large predator eyes to intimidate pest birds. Visual bird deterrents attach easily to patio covers, gazebos, tree branches, or any elevated area in your garden. Just remember to move them around frequently to convince birds they are “live” threats.