Today’s gardening tip will teach you how to protect berries from birds. I have 5 different techniques you can use to keep the birds from eating your berries and other small fruits.
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This has happened to me so many times! I will be out in the garden and notice some strawberries that are just getting ready to be picked. Maybe they need just one more day to be perfectly ripe. The next morning when I show up to pick them I find them ravished by the local birds! AUGH!!!
For us, the problem birds are Robins and Magpies! Those dang pesky birds just hang out in my garden waiting for the fruit to ripen. So over the years, I have developed some ideas that help to limit the amount of “sharing” I have to do with the local wildlife!
5 Ideas to Protect Berries from Birds
The Fake Berry Method
This is a method to protect berries from birds I see all the time on social media. It’s kinda a cutesy idea that you see a lot on Pinterest.
The method involves making fake berries out of rocks! The idea is you paint rocks red and then place them in your strawberry patch. The birds come along and try to eat them and discover they are rocks so they go elsewhere looking for food. This way you train the birds to not expect real berries in your patch.
Of all the ideas I am going to teach you today this one is the least effective. It can help if you have a lot of the same local birds that often hang out in your area. But it won’t be much help with migratory birds that aren’t around long enough to learn the lesson.
In order for this method to protect berries from birds, you have to get started with it early! You need to put the painted rocks out BEFORE your fruit starts to ripen! The birds need to learn that there is no real fruit in your patch before there really is fruit. So get these fake rocks out in the garden at least a couple of weeks before your berries are ready to ripen.
The other thing about this method is it is only really good for Strawberries! Most other berries grow on bushes that are above ground level so the birds won’t be fooled.
I think this is a good method to use along with some of the other ideas I have for you. But you shouldn’t depend on this one to save your strawberry crop.
Hanging old CD’s and DVD’s
This next idea can be really effective for some birds. Simply hang some old DVDs or CDs around your garden.
The idea here is that the CDs will spin with the wind and flash as the sunlight hits them. Both the motion from the spinning and the flashing reflections will scare off many birds!
You can simply run a string through the hole at the center of the CD and then hang them from your trees. Or to make them hang a little straighter you can drill a small hole on the edge of the CD and run the string through there to hang them.
If you have gone all digital and you don’t have any old CD’s or DVD’s hanging around try checking out your local thrift store, there are bound to be a bunch there for very little money.
I love this idea because it adds a little “whimsy” to your garden. A Whirligig can be as simple as those little swirly flowers you used to get as kids to blow on. Or can be as complex as the hand made projects that you can find on YouTube!
The idea again here is to add motion, flashing, and noise to your garden as the wind blows. You can build your own or buy them ready to go out in the garden.
Using a Scarecrow
This old fashioned idea can be really effective for some birds. The idea with a scarecrow is to trick the birds into thinking someone is out in the garden. They are especially effective if they have a little bit of motion to them. Clothing, arms, or legs that move in the breeze.
Protecting berries from birds with bird netting
This last method for protecting berries from birds is the most effective. This method involves using Bird Netting. The idea here is to just keep the birds out of your berry patch or fruit trees by using a net.
Bird Netting is fairly inexpensive to buy and lasts for years. The pieces that I am using in my garden are more than 10 years old and still going strong.
I don’t keep netting on my plants year-round, instead, I will only put them out when there is fruit that needs protecting. That helps keep the netting in good shape.
I also like to suspend the netting above the surface of my plants a bit by adding a stake with a bottle on the end. This keeps the netting off the plants a bit so that it doesn’t get tangled in the plants as much. It also makes it harder for the birds to reach through the netting to peck at the fruit if the net is suspended above the plants and fruit a bit. The bottles keep the stake from damaging the netting and also help the netting to glide over the stakes when you are removing it to harvest the fruit.
One warning for you with netting. There is a chance that a bird may get caught in the netting. It doesn’t happen very often (in 20 + years of gardening it has only happened once to me) but it is a possibility that you will have to deal with. You will just have to figure out how to get the bird out of the netting which can be fun!
Use a combination of these methods
I like to try and have several things happening in my garden at the same time to help keep the birds away.
My favorites are the hanging CDs and netting. But I have recently added a Whirligig to my garden and will occasionally use a scarecrow if I have some pesky birds causing problems.
So mix things up a bit and try several of these methods to protect berries from birds in your garden.
How do I keep birds from eating my berries?
Bird netting is the most effective method for keeping birds from eating your berries. Whirligig’s and scarecrows also help a lot!