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Birds can bring many pros and cons to your garden. Whilst birds are beautiful creatures and many people opt to observe and log them when they appear in their garden, they can also be a pest for your crops. Many gardeners over the years have been curious about what the top bird deterrents are for gardens, to keep them out so that their crops can grow. In this article, we will explore the top bird deterrents for your garden, based on expert advice and experience, to help strike a balance between safeguarding crops in the garden as well as nurturing the bird population in eco-friendly ways.

We will explore the following:

What makes an effective bird deterrent for gardens?

bird deterrent robin in garden

Birds dislike strong smells, shiny objects, and threatening predators. Certain methods that you could implement here include recycling CDs or DVDs as shiny objects, using herbs such as garlic as a strong smell, or adding animal sound devices.

Many bird repellents cleverly integrate these elements, specifically highlighting sounds to stimulate the senses and keep birds from encroaching on your cherished garden areas. However, like birds themselves, certain repellents can also have unintended consequences, so be cautious. By taking these sensible measures for crafting the top bird deterrents for your garden, you can effectively repel bird infestations, protect your crops, and keep your garden sacred.

Things to consider before using a bird deterrent.

When considering your top bird deterrents to use in your garden, it is imperative to put the welfare of our feathered friends first and ensure that they do not get harmed. Therefore, the bird deterrents used should never pose a danger of catching, injuring, or killing the bird.

Additionally, when using deterrents or fencing, it is important to allow breeding birds access to active nests and avoid obstructions. Special care should be taken near nests of Schedule 1 bird species. Any disturbance in the immediate vicinity of the nest is strictly prohibited by law. Additionally, before initiating bird control at a particular location, it is important to determine whether alternative habitats to which birds can migrate are available.

Failure to provide viable alternatives may result in ineffective deterrence and excessive stress on birds. By following these guidelines, you can develop effective and gentle bird management strategies that ensure the welfare of the birds whilst also keeping them out of your garden. The RSPB also has important information to consider when implementing your bird deterrents if you have further concerns about whether they will impact the welfare of birds in your garden.

The Top Bird Deterrents for your Garden

Now that we have the initial questions out of the way about what to consider before choosing a bird deterrent, here are the top ones that have been widely known to work in many gardener’s allotments.

1.   Get rid of food sources for birds.

bird deterrent get rid of food sources

To keep birds out of your garden, it’s important to eliminate or protect food sources that may attract them. If you have fruit trees or have recently sown seeds, you should consider using a protective net to protect the plants from bird disturbance. This protects your labor and harvest.

Hanging bird feeders are a practical solution if you want to keep smaller birds out while keeping out large birds such as pigeons. These feeders present a challenge for larger birds as they make access to food difficult and ultimately affect endurance. Another ingenious approach is to use inverted hanging basket domes on flat feeders to ensure exclusive seed feeding for smaller birds.

Pros:

  • It reduces the risk of crop damage by birds, promotes natural foraging instincts, and reduces birds’ dependence on garden resources.

Cons:

  • Potential impact on other wildlife, temporary effectiveness, limited coverage, and effectiveness may vary with seasonal changes.
  • By implementing these strategic measures, you can balance welcoming the desired bird species and protecting your garden, thereby promoting an environment that benefits both flora and fauna.

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2. Ultrasonic Repellers

top bird deterrent ultrasonic repellers

Another effective and top bird deterrent for your garden is by using ultrasonic repellers, a revolutionary device that is unlike the other options in this article!

Ultrasonic repellers work by emitting a frequency sound that birds can hear, effectively helping birds to establish themselves in a target area. The versatility of these devices allows you to adjust the frequency output so as not to disturb nearby residents and pets while effectively deterring bird intrusions.

Pros:

  • Installation and maintenance of the acoustic bird repellers are hassle-free, bringing convenience to the user.

Cons:

  • The use of ultrasonic repellents may face resistance due to potential noise pollution concerns, is less neighborhood friendly, and may even be prohibited in some areas. Additionally, birds may become accustomed to the sound over time, realising that no real threat exists.
  • Understanding the nuances of ultrasonic repellents can help you make informed decisions and find the balance between effective bird control and environmental harmony.

3.   Anti-Bird Spikes

anti bird spikes as a bird deterrent

When considering what the top bird deterrents are for your garden, one option that comes to mind to many expert gardeners are the use of anti-bird spikes. These devices can also be effective for deterring other animals including cats, although others may prefers plants that deter cats for this method.

Anti-bird spikes are versatile and easy to use for those looking for little to no hassle for integrating bird deterrent methods into their gardens. They will help to keep small and large birds away and prevent them from perching and littering in your yard; these are particularly useful if you look after smaller animals that birds may prey on.

These spikes can be easily installed in a variety of locations such as windowsills, gutters, and fences to provide total deterrence. It features a blunt tip to ensure bird safety while maintaining long-lasting effectiveness. Bird-repellent spikes come in a variety of materials, with translucent polycarbonate being a popular choice as it blends seamlessly with the environment and has minimal visual impact.

Pros:

  • Anti-bird spikes have great affordability and wide availability, making them a convenient choice for many users.

Cons:

  • The presence of anti-bird spikes can affect the aesthetics of buildings and may not be feasible in large areas. In addition, some birds have adaptive capabilities, and can just nest in other convenient spaces close to your garden.
  • Although bird-proof spikes have practical advantages, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks associated with their implementation.

4.   Bird-Proof Gel

To prevent birds from resting on undesirable surfaces such as fences and windowsills, bird-proof gels are an effective solution. This sticky substance creates an unpleasant and sticky surface for birds, like the mechanism of bird repellent spikes. Unlike spikes, however, gels are discreet and offer a more aesthetically pleasing alternative while still providing effective bird repellent.

Pros:

  • Bird repellent gel is harmless to birds and emphasizes its humane nature. Its versatility allows it to be applied to a variety of surfaces, while its durability ensures lasting results.
  • Ease of use also increases user convenience.

Cons:

  • The gel appearance is considered undesirable and can detract from the visual appeal of the garden.
  • Coverage is limited to the area to which it is applied and over time the gel can dry out and become less effective. Also, the gel may unintentionally transfer to other objects, causing unwanted stickiness.
  • The application process itself can be difficult and requires great care. Although bird-safe gels have some advantages, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks associated with their use.

5.   Distress Calls

Recording bird distress calls and predator calls are effective ways to deter birds from your yard and are considered a valuable bird deterrent for your garden. Birds have an increased sensitivity to sound, and when they hear these calls, their instinctive response is to perceive them as a potential threat and flee the area.

Pros:

  • Playing such recordings can mimic a sense of danger without harming the birds themselves.
  • Distress call devices are versatile and provide long-lasting results.

Cons:

  • There is the possibility of ‘habituation’, in which birds become accustomed to recorded calls over time and their effectiveness diminishes.
  • The effective range of acoustic deterrence is limited to the area where sound is projected.
  • Risk of annoyance to neighbours.
  • Seasonal variations in bird behavior can affect the effectiveness of acoustic deterrence.

The success of this method depends on the availability and selection of suitable recordings and the learning behavior of the birds.

6.   Visual Deterrents

old CD used as a bird deterrent

To further deter birds from your garden if the other bird deterrents have failed to work is by using visual deterrents. These include bird distress calls or predator calls. Given their sensitivity to sound, birds interpret these calls as signs of danger, prompting them to vacate the area.

Pros:

  • These solutions are convienent in terms of their availability and installation.
  • Cost-effective.

Cons:

  • Birds can habituate to these visual deterrents quickly.
  • Visual deterrents are constructed from non-recyclable materials, and at times can litter the landscape once they begin to deteriorate.

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Alternative methods to keep birds away from your garden

Of course, there are several alternative methods to deter birds from your garden aside from our top bird deterrents. These may be deemed less effective, but nevertheless, are important factors to consider if you want to keep birds out on a tighter budget.

Here are more humane ways to keep birds out of your garden without the need to scare them off:

Garden netting

garden netting for bird deterrent

The use of garden netting as a protective measure in the garden has proven to be a highly effective technique to prevent birds from destroying valuable plants. Insect netting not only protects plants from bird infestation, but also facilitates the entry and pollination of small beneficial insects such as butterflies and bees.

To ensure the health of birds and other wildlife, it is important to choose a mesh type with holes less than 1cm to keep the net taut and reduce the risk of injury.

Pros:

Nets have proven to be an effective and reliable solution for getting rid of birds in your garden.

Cons:

However, the costs associated with installation and maintenance become prohibitive when attempting to expand the net deployment to larger areas.

There are many different forms of allotment netting, and choosing which one is right for your garden will improve in the protection of your garden crops and wildlife.

Install Ground Level Chicken Wire

chicken wire for bird deterrent

Installing ground level chicken wire into your garden or allotment to keep birds away will undeniably protect your newly planted seeds or even freshly sown tubers. Even if you have a bigger garden and keep chickens as pets, chicken wire will assist in preventing chickens from scratching at the soil of your crops. You can even elevate the wire as the seeds grow and therefore provide an extra level of protection.

Pros:

  • Physical barrier against different creatures and not just birds.
  • Extremely versatile.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Allows for airflow and sunlight.

Cons:

  • Not effective for flying birds.
  • Labour-intensive installation.
  • Complicated aesthetics.
  • Complicated maintenance challenges.
  • Causes limited access for gardeners,
  • Can trap other wildlife.

Fake Owls and Toy Snakes

fake owl to scare birds as a bird deterrent

Using predators as bait, such as plastic owls, hawks or other birds of prey, can act as an effective bird deterrent for your garden. However, like scarecrows, fixed lures lose their effectiveness over time if they are not moved regularly, allowing the birds to fly down and attack your crops. By strategically moving fake owl and snake lures around your garden, you can limit unobstructed access to local bird visitors. Lures that move or emit sound are even more effective at deterring birds.

Pros:

  • Discourages other birds from coming near.

Cons:

  • Once the birds learn that the decoy remains stationary and has no odor, they will likely realise its artificial nature and populate its surroundings.

In contrast, introducing an actual owl to the vicinity would threaten the birds, preventing them from returning once the owl has sniffed the scent and claimed its territory. However, you should check to see whether having an owl as a pet is a good idea or not.

Go Old Fashioned with a Scarecrow

scarecrow to scare away birds

Scarecrows are another intuitive bird deterrent for your garden, so long as they are regularly repositioned and adjusted to prevent them from getting damaged or appearing as overtly fake.

When constructing your scarecrow, it is important to consider using materials that are light and easy to maintain and move, whilst also keeping birds on their toes; even swapping the scarecrow’s clothes now and again will also prove effective! Keeping your garden lawn well maintained with these great lawn edging ideas will also help when moving your scarecrow around without obscuring the landscape.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective.
  • Visual, natural, and eco-friendly appearance.
  • Easy to set up and maintain.

Cons:

  • Habituation.
  • Ineffective to some species.
  • Weather-dependent.
  • Limited coverage.

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Do Wind Chimes Keep Birds Away?

wind chimes to stop birds

Sudden noises and movements can also deter birds from your garden. Examples include wind chimes, although these are not considered a long-term solution. Wind chime noises can be initially annoying to birds and may cause them to fly away, but after a while, they can get accustomed to the noise and return to your garden.

If you live in a loud or busy area, birds will grow attuned to these sounds, and using wind chimes may prove ineffective in this instance.

Homemade remedies to keep birds away

If none of the options above interest you, and you would prefer to create a bird deterrent yourself, check out the video below to see how you can use your own initiative to keep birds out of your garden.

Find the best bird deterrents that are right for you!

The information gathered in this article was gathered from experts with prior experience to using these bird deterrents in their gardens. As you will have noticed, each of these deterrents have a wide variety of pros and cons, and none of them perfect, but will provide varied results. If you are keen towards keeping birds out of your garden completely, you can implement all of these methods, but these may affect your budget. What you will need to consider when choosing a bird deterrent is:

  • Is the deterrent eco-friendly, and does not physically harm the birds or the environment?
  • Will the deterrent meet your budget?
  • Are they easy to install, and will not annoy your neighbours?

Once you have considered these factors, you should meet a concrete decision about which bird deterrent is best for your garden, and will hopefully keep them out so that your crops can thrive and prosper in no time.

FAQs

How do I know if birds are causing damage to my garden?

Look for signs such as nibbled or pecked fruits, vegetables, or plants, disturbed seedlings, droppings, or evidence of birds nesting or roosting in your garden.

What are some effective bird deterrents for gardens?

There are several effective bird deterrents for gardens, including:
Bird netting: Install netting over vulnerable plants or trees to prevent birds from accessing them.
Scare devices: Use visual deterrents like reflective tape, scare balloons, or plastic predators to frighten birds away.
Bird spikes: Install spikes on ledges, fences, or other perching surfaces to make them uncomfortable for birds.
Ultrasonic devices: Use ultrasonic bird repellent devices that emit high-frequency sounds not audible to humans but irritating to birds.
Decoys: Place decoy predators like owl or hawk statues in your garden to deter birds.
Bird repellent sprays: Apply bird repellent sprays on plants or surfaces to create an unpleasant taste or smell for birds.
Physical barriers: Use fences, wire mesh, or bird-proofing materials to physically block birds from accessing your garden.

How can I prevent birds from eating my crops?

Consider using bird netting to cover your crops, making sure the netting is securely fastened at the bottom to prevent birds from getting underneath. Alternatively, you can set up scare devices or use reflective tape to create a visually intimidating environment.

What can I do to stop birds from nesting in my garden?

To discourage birds from nesting in your garden, remove any potential nesting materials like twigs, grass, or debris. Make sure to cover or seal any openings or cavities in structures where birds may attempt to build nests.

Are there any natural remedies to keep birds away from my garden?

Yes, some natural remedies you can try including hanging reflective objects like CDs, using chili pepper or garlic sprays on plants, or planting bird-deterring herbs like marigolds or mint around your garden.

How do I make my garden less attractive to birds?

Limit food sources by promptly removing fallen fruits or seeds. Keep your garden clean and free from debris that birds may find appealing for nesting material. Using bird deterrents like those mentioned above can also make your garden less inviting to birds.


Sources

BTO (n.d.). Taking Part: Protected Birds. British Trust for Ornithology. [Accessed 17/5/23] Retrieved from: https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/bird-ringing-scheme/taking-part/protected-birds

RSPB (n.d.). Bird Scarers and Deterrents. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Retrieved from: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/bird-scarers-and-deterrents/

Victor Pest (n.d.). Expert Tips on Ultrasonic Technology. Victor Pest. [Accessed 17/5/23] Retrieved from: https://www.victorpest.com/articles/ultrasonic-expert-tips

Allotment Book (n.d.). Allotment Netting. [Accessed 17/5/23] Retrieved from: https://www.allotmentbook.co.uk/contents/allotment-netting/

Pethelpful (n.d.). Owls as Pets: Care & Legal Considerations. Pethelpful. [Accessed 17/5/23] Retrieved from: https://pethelpful.com/exotic-pets/Owls-as-Pets-Care-Legal#:~:text=Question%3A%20Do%20you%20have%20to,states%20where%20they%20are%20legal.

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Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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