by Alex A. Kecskes
If you’re growing fruits, nuts or vegetables, you know the kind of care it takes to produce something edible and pesticide free. But now that spring is here, there are things you must do to protect your garden from invading pests. One of the biggest threats today’s gardens face is pest birds. Without effective bird control measures, your garden will have to survive attacks by the following pest birds this spring:
The House Sparrow, an abundant song bird, is a destructive forager destroying crops and gardens as they feed on seeds, fruits, and nuts. Redwings and fieldfares are nomads that will attack your berries. Flocks of invading mistle thrushes will devour your berry-clad bushes in minutes. The siskin, a small green and yellow member of the finch family, which will quickly eat all your seed producing plants.
Another bird to watch out for is the bullfinch, which can rapidly chew away 45 buds off a fruit tree in a single minute, stripping off an entire branch before you spot them and shoo them away. Starlings, common grackles and robins can destroy your blueberries. Cherries fall victim to starlings, robins, orioles and common grackles.
The best way to keep pest birds out of your garden is to implement the following, proven effective pest bird deterrents:
Garden Bird Netting
Opt for high quality netting. The best plastic netting for gardens is fabricated from durable, U.V.-protected polypropylene. It’s strong, light, easy to handle and practically invisible. You can either wrap your individual plants in netting or suspend the netting around an entire garden area. For 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 can be extremely effective and they’re preferred by many gardeners and growers because they cover a wide area without a lot of installation labor. Sonic Bird Deterrents emit pre-recorded bird distress and predator calls, which make pest birds feel too threatened to stay in your garden. Consider getting a versatile sonic system that can emit more than one sound—one system currently on the market can emit distress and predator calls for as many as 22 different species of birds. This system will cover an entire acre and you can program it to turn on or off at night.
Visual Bird Deterrents
Birds get real edgy and anxious to leave if they see what they think is a large predator watching them. That’s the theory behind Visual Bird Deterrents. The best of these are Scare Eye Diverters and Bird Scare Balloons, which are covered with large predator eyes. You hang them from a tree branch, patio cover or trellis and they bob and weave in the breeze to give pest birds the creeps.