How To Keep Birds Away From Your Garden

Birds can be a nuisance in the garden, eating your plants and making a mess. But there are effective, humane ways to deter birds and protect your garden. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to keeping birds away: use deterrents like decoys, foil, and harmless repellents.

Read on for a comprehensive guide on natural, safe techniques to discourage birds from feasting in your garden.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, you’ll learn why birds are drawn to gardens, the types of birds that damage plants, and most importantly, actionable tips to make your garden an unpleasant dining spot for birds.

Understanding Bird Behavior

In order to effectively keep birds away from your garden, it’s important to understand their behavior and what attracts them in the first place. By gaining insight into why birds are attracted to gardens and the damage they can cause, you can implement strategies to deter them and protect your plants.

Why Birds Are Attracted to Gardens

Birds are naturally drawn to gardens due to the abundance of food, water, and shelter that they provide. Gardens are often filled with delicious fruits, seeds, and insects, making them an attractive feeding ground for birds.

Additionally, the presence of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation offers birds a safe haven for nesting and roosting.

Furthermore, the presence of bird feeders and bird baths can also increase bird activity in your garden. These artificial sources of food and water can quickly become a favorite destination for birds, particularly during times of scarcity in the wild.

Common Pest Birds and the Damage They Cause

While many birds can coexist peacefully with gardeners, there are certain species that can cause significant damage to plants and crops. Some common pest birds that you may encounter in your garden include pigeons, sparrows, starlings, and crows.

Pigeons, for example, are notorious for their droppings, which can deface buildings, statues, and even plants. Sparrows and starlings, on the other hand, can be voracious eaters and may decimate your fruit and vegetable crops.

Crows, with their sharp beaks, can cause damage to young plants by pecking and pulling them apart.

It’s important to identify the specific birds that are causing problems in your garden so that you can tailor your deterrent methods accordingly.

For more information on identifying common pest birds, you can visit the website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at

Using Visual Deterrents

When it comes to keeping birds away from your garden, visual deterrents can be an effective and humane solution. These deterrents rely on visual stimuli to scare birds away and prevent them from causing damage to your plants. Here are some popular visual deterrents that you can use:


A classic and timeless method, scarecrows have been used for centuries to deter birds. The presence of a scarecrow in your garden can trick birds into thinking that there is a human presence, making them wary and less likely to approach your plants.

To make your scarecrow even more effective, consider adding some colorful clothing or accessories to make it more visually appealing and intimidating to birds.

Predator Decoys

Another visual deterrent that can be highly effective is the use of predator decoys. These decoys mimic natural predators of birds, such as owls or hawks, and can create an illusion of danger for birds.

Place these decoys strategically around your garden to create the impression that predators are present, and birds will be less likely to want to stick around.

Shiny Reflective Objects

Birds are often scared away by bright, reflective objects. Hang shiny objects like CDs, aluminum foil strips, or old silverware in your garden to create a deterrent. As the light hits these objects, it will create flashes and reflections that can startle and confuse birds, making them think twice about landing in your garden.

Scare Tape and Flash Tape

Scare tape and flash tape are simple yet effective visual deterrents. These tapes are usually made of lightweight, reflective material that moves and makes noise in the wind. Hang them from stakes or branches around your garden to create a visual and auditory deterrent for birds.

The movement and sound of the tape will startle birds and discourage them from landing or causing damage to your plants.

Remember, different bird species may respond differently to visual deterrents, so it may be necessary to experiment with different methods to find what works best for your garden. Additionally, it’s important to regularly change the position of visual deterrents to prevent birds from becoming accustomed to them.

Using Sounds to Scare Birds Away

When it comes to keeping birds away from your garden, using sounds as a deterrent can be an effective strategy. Birds rely heavily on their sense of hearing, and certain sounds can be enough to scare them away from your precious plants and crops.

In this section, we will explore the different methods of using sounds as a bird repellent.

Auditory Repellents

Auditory repellents are devices that emit sounds specifically designed to deter birds. These sounds can mimic the distress calls of birds or simulate the sounds of predators, creating a hostile environment for the unwanted visitors.

Some auditory repellents also have adjustable sound frequencies to target specific bird species.

One popular auditory repellent is the Bird-X Balcony Gard Ultrasonic Bird Repeller. This device emits high-frequency ultrasonic sounds that are inaudible to humans but can be highly irritating to birds, causing them to stay away from the area.

It is a safe and humane method of repelling birds without causing them harm.

Noise Makers

Noise makers are another effective way to scare birds away from your garden. These devices produce loud and sudden noises that startle the birds and make them fly away. Noise makers can come in various forms, such as air horns, whistles, or even homemade contraptions like aluminum foil strips that rustle in the wind.

One popular noise maker is the Zon BirdScare Cannon. This device produces a loud boom that simulates the sound of a gunshot, scaring birds away from the area. The cannon can be set to go off at specific intervals, creating a consistent deterrent for the birds.

It’s important to note that while auditory repellents and noise makers can be effective in deterring birds, their success may vary depending on the bird species and the specific circumstances of your garden.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a bird control professional or do thorough research to find the most suitable method for your particular situation.

Remember, the goal is not to harm the birds, but to create an environment that is less attractive to them. By using sounds as a bird repellent, you can protect your garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor without any unwanted feathered guests.

Applying Smell and Taste Repellents

Methyl anthranilate

One effective smell repellent for birds is methyl anthranilate, which is a compound derived from grapes. It has a strong, grape-like smell that birds find unpleasant. Methyl anthranilate can be applied to garden plants by diluting it in water and spraying it onto the leaves.

The smell will deter birds from landing and feeding on the plants. It is important to reapply the repellent after rain or heavy watering to maintain its effectiveness.

Garlic and chili pepper sprays

Garlic and chili pepper sprays are another effective method to keep birds away from your garden. Birds dislike the strong taste and smell of these ingredients. To make a garlic spray, simply crush a few garlic cloves and mix them with water.

Let the mixture sit for a day, then strain it and transfer it into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto your plants, paying extra attention to areas where birds are most active. Chili pepper spray can be made by combining chopped chili peppers with water and a few drops of liquid soap.

The spiciness of the peppers will repel birds, but be sure to wear gloves and avoid touching your eyes or face when handling the peppers.

Remember, while these smell and taste repellents can be effective in deterring birds from your garden, it is important to reapply them regularly, especially after rain or heavy watering. Additionally, it is always a good idea to use organic and natural repellents to minimize any potential harm to the environment and other wildlife.

Excluding Birds with Netting

If you’re looking to keep birds away from your garden, using netting can be an effective solution. Netting creates a physical barrier that prevents birds from accessing your plants and trees. There are different types of netting that you can use, depending on your specific needs.

Seed germination nets

Seed germination nets are designed to protect newly planted seeds from birds. These nets are made of fine mesh that allows sunlight, water, and air to reach the seeds while keeping birds at bay. They are easy to install and can be placed directly over the seedbed.

Seed germination nets are especially useful for small garden plots or when starting plants from seeds indoors.

Bird netting over plants and trees

If you have mature plants or trees that are being targeted by birds, bird netting can be an excellent option. Bird netting is typically made of durable materials such as nylon or polyethylene and is available in different mesh sizes to accommodate different types of birds.

It can be draped over plants or trees and secured in place using stakes or clips. Bird netting not only keeps birds away but also provides protection against other pests like squirrels and rabbits.

When using bird netting, it’s important to ensure that the netting is properly installed and doesn’t come into contact with the plants or trees. This will prevent birds from getting entangled in the netting and causing harm to themselves.

It’s also essential to regularly inspect the netting for any tears or holes and repair them promptly to maintain its effectiveness.

Remember, while netting is an effective way to exclude birds from your garden, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your plants and the local bird population. Some plants may require pollination from birds or benefit from their presence for pest control.

In such cases, it may be necessary to use alternative methods to deter birds without completely excluding them from your garden.

For more information on bird netting and how to effectively use it in your garden, you can visit They provide a wide range of gardening products and offer expert advice on bird control strategies.

Making Your Garden Less Appealing to Birds

Having birds in your garden can be delightful, but sometimes they can become a nuisance, especially when they start damaging your plants or leaving droppings everywhere. If you’re looking for ways to keep birds away from your garden, here are some effective strategies to make your garden less appealing to them.

Remove food sources

One of the main reasons birds are attracted to gardens is the availability of food. By removing potential food sources, you can discourage birds from visiting your garden. Start by keeping your bird feeders away from your garden area.

If birds can’t find food easily, they will be less likely to hang around. Additionally, clear away fallen fruits, berries, and seeds that might be attracting birds.

Let vegetation grow tall

Birds are more likely to visit gardens where they can easily find shelter and nesting spots. By allowing your vegetation to grow tall, you can make your garden less inviting to birds. Consider planting tall trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your garden to create a natural barrier.

This will make it harder for birds to access your garden and discourage them from settling in.

Use less open mulch

Open mulch, such as straw or wood chips, can attract birds as they often contain insects and worms. Consider using heavier mulch options, such as rocks or pebbles, instead. These materials are less appealing to birds and will make it less likely for them to forage in your garden.

Additionally, using mulch that is tightly packed and covers the soil completely can discourage birds from digging around and searching for food.

Remember, it’s important to strike a balance when implementing these strategies. You want to keep birds away from your garden without causing harm to them or disrupting the natural ecosystem. By making your garden less appealing to birds, you can create a peaceful and enjoyable space for yourself while still respecting the presence of wildlife.


Birds can quickly destroy a garden, but you don’t have to resort to harmful methods to protect your plants. With persistence and a combination of humane bird deterrent techniques, you can outsmart birds and maintain a lush, productive garden.

Start with easy fixes like decoys and deterrent sprays, and move onto more intensive exclusion if needed. Observe when and where birds strike, and target your efforts accordingly. With some clever planning and bird psychology, you can have both a sanctuary for local wildlife and a garden safe from feathered pests.

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