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Birds & Growing Vegetables

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Just as your vegetables look tasty to you, they also appear appetizing to birds. When birds feed on your vegetable garden, it decreases your yield and can damage the plants, preventing future growth. You don’t want to scare birds away from your vegetable garden completely, however, because they also feed on insects that can damage your crop. Certain management techniques will limit damage done by birds while also encouraging them to stick around and help with other pests.

Birds

While most birds don’t pose a threat to your vegetable garden, a small selection of species view your yard as an easy place to find food. Crowned sparrows, finches, robins and crows are most likely to damage your vegetable crop. Birds often feed on your vegetables when there is limited access to other foods, such as bugs. Introduce bugs that birds eat, but that are also beneficial to your garden, to distract birds away from your vegetables. Green lacewings feed on aphids and can enhance your garden. Avoid using snails and caterpillars, which birds enjoy, but cause damage of their own.

Benefits

You don’t want to completely eliminate birds from your yard because they offer certain benefits that encourage your vegetable garden to thrive. Birds eat certain pests, such as slugs, that feed on your vegetable plants, causing more damage than birds. Certain varieties of birds, such as hummingbirds, orioles, robins, finches and buntings, also help pollinate your crops, which can encourage a higher yield of vegetables.

Damage

While you certainly want birds in your yard, they can cause damage. As birds scavenge for worms, they can disrupt seeds you have just planted, preventing them from sprouting. Birds might also dig up and eat your vegetable seeds before they have a chance to sprout. They may nibble on your tiny sprouts, destroying them before they have a chance to produce fruit. Birds also peck at vegetables to eat their flesh, which leaves behind holes and damage that makes them inedible.

Control

Row covers or garden netting will help keep birds away from newly planted seeds and tiny sprouts. Poking garden stakes or long sticks into the soil surrounding your vegetable seeds or sprouts may prevent birds from scratching at the soil as they try to find seeds or worms. Frightening devices, such as reflective tape, colored streamers and shiny objects like aluminum foil, aluminum pie plates or CDs can scare birds away from your vegetable patch. Rotate devices, as they stop working when birds get used to them. Hang bird houses and fill with seeds, nuts, fruit or bread to keep birds coming back, but also to keep them away from your vegetables.

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Control of Mammals and Birds in the Vegetable Garden
  • University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Birds on Tree Fruits and Vines
  • Birds and Blooms: Birds and Blooms: A Perfect Pair
  • The Wildlife Trusts: Feeding Wild Birds in Your Garden

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Birds & Growing Vegetables. Just as your vegetables look tasty to you, they also appear appetizing to birds. When birds feed on your vegetable garden, it decreases your yield and can damage the plants, preventing future growth. You don’t want to scare birds away from your vegetable garden completely, however, …

Birds pulling up/eating seeds

Gardening Reference ยป Gardening in 2006

The birds in my garden, although fed daily with birdfood, LOVE pulling up my sweetpeas and eating or just leaving them. I thought the morning glories were going to make it, but they are all gone now.

If I replant, is there anything I can try to discourage the birds? We built a chicken wire cover, but they got under it.

Should I get some hay somewhere and pile it over the seeds?

i was going to say chicken wire!!
clever birds hey,
why dont you start them in pots or trays and transplant them later.
you could sart them indoors and plant out.

I know exactly what you’re going through because I’ve been there and done that! It’s frustrating to say the least. I’ve had to deal with not only birds, but squirels, chipmunks, and rabbits too. The only solution I’ve found that really works is to start everything inside. One rabbit family wiped out my whole vegetable garden one year. I know it’s not the answer you’re looking for but it’s the only thing that worked for me!

“Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen!”

HI Lori they make a few things that you can just hang up to scare birds away there like a mylar balloon with eyes on them
BUT I would try a few pie tins and paint eyes on them first.place them on a pole or a stick where you have planted your seeds this should do the trick.your friend in gardening.Mike57

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent.

here is the method I use.. I take old sheer curtains and lay them over the plants till they are large enough to go on their own..
They love my strawberrys too.. I do the same for that.. I put rocks on the curtains to hold down the ends . or boards.

””Those who live in the Lord Never See Each Other For The Last Time!””

Hey Dodge, that’s a great idea for keeping the birds from getting the seeds, but it won’t keep the my squirrels and rabbits from destroying all my plants. They are a bigger problem for me than the birds.

“Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen!”

Be VERY careful if anyone uses that black bird netting. I’ve seen dead birds stuck in that. They poke their heads in and get strangled
Floating row covers are good, similar idea to sheer curtains, it lets in light and moisture but keeps tweety off. Its commonly used on strawberry patches.
You can also save those junk mail CD’s & hang them from fishing line. the reflection & movement keep birds away.

Summer Camp ’07, July 14th weekend, won’t you join us?
summer camp thread 1, 2, 3,4

CD’s hung around the area has worked for me.

I had crows pulling up every seedling they could get to until I did that. Once I hung the cd’s around I never had another wild animal in my garden!

It also works for deer!

Debra. I don’t use chemical pesticides, but there are plenty of natural ones. Insecticidal soap, botanical pyrethrin, Neem are a few. Neem is a bit pricy, but very effective. Insecticidal soap works well and costs a little less.

Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!

From The Garden Forum: The birds in my garden, although fed daily with birdfood, LOVE pulling up my sweetpeas and eating or just leaving them. I thought the morning glories were going to make it, but they are all gone now.