Protecting Crops from Birds
It can be disheartening for any gardener or farmer to work hard growing fruits and vegetables, only to see birds taking advantage of a free meal. Birds will eat fruits, berries, corn, grain and other crops, and they're intelligent and clever enough to work around many different types of deterrents. With a bit of innovation, however, it is possible to protect your crops from birds, whether you have just a small garden plot or a much larger commercial field.
Ways to Safeguard Your Crops
To keep unwanted birds from harvesting your produce prematurely…
- Use a scarecrow that has randomly moving parts, such as pinwheels or ribbons that flutter in the wind. Birds will quickly learn that a scarecrow is not a threat, but the moving parts will keep them more wary. If possible, relocate the scarecrow regularly to keep it unique.
- Add reflectors near the threatened crops. Tin pie plates, CDs, mylar strips or other reflective materials that can move in the wind are the best options, and both the movement and the changing reflections will help keep birds at bay.
- Use thin mesh netting draped over plants or small trees to keep birds from reaching the crops. If possible, use slightly taller posts to suspend the netting just above the plants to ensure the birds cannot reach through the netting.
- Take steps to attract hawks and owls to your fields or garden by putting up nesting towers or boxes and leaving perches intact. These predators will not only protect your crops from small birds, but also from rodents and large insects.
- Offer birds an easier meal with a feeding station near the garden area. Birds are opportunists and will take advantage of the easiest offerings, leaving your crops largely intact as long as the feeders are regularly filled with enticing treats.
For the best results, use several methods to deter birds. You will inevitably have losses from persistent birds, but by taking steps to protect your crops, you can minimize any damage without harming the birds.
Be sure to check back to www.agway.com for more information, projects and tips. Visit your local Agway where you'll find everything you need, year-round, for your home, lawn, garden, farm, pet and wild birding needs. Each Agway location is independently owned and operated and as such products and pricing vary by store.