How to protect plants from birds?

How to protect plants from birds?

Although it is nice to see wild birds and various animals in the garden, they are often a nuisance for gardeners. Curious, yet hungry, they can do a lot of damage to crops.  Destroying them by accident or devouring a large amount. There are many ways to deter them, some more or less effective. The most common in the gardens are scarecrows, but as the birds get used to it, they become a comfortable landing ground for them.

There are several ways to limit birds’ access to crop. One of them is the creation of structures protecting plants or fruit. For this purpose, a greenhouse with a foil or a net applied on the frame will do the job. Another solution may be to use some kind of repellent. Some of them can be easily made, eg CDs, pieces of shiny foil, cans, etc. However, in the case of scarecrows, animals will quickly get accustomed to this trick over time.

How to protect plants from birds.

Sound devices

There is a wide selection of bird repellents on the market, both available in the permanent range of garden centers and online stores with garden accessories. Every now and then, they make an unpleasant sound for birds, usually reminiscent of a predator. Their disadvantage is that if placed near the house, the sound might be irritating.

The simplest devices cost a few euros, many of them have built-in solar batteries, thanks to which they get charged. For small polytunnels, the plot or the garden, they are sufficient. It is a different matter when it comes to large scale crop production. A professional foil tunnel, specifically a multi tunnel, is entirely covered with foil, so birds have no access inside. In the case of side ventilation, a net is installed to further isolate vegetables and fruits. Roof ventilation can be fitted too, but the principle remains the same. A seasonal foil tunnel, which is usually open on both sides (front and back), can become a pantry for birds. Therefore, it is worth considering a method to protect it from animals.

Repellents

There are also many variants to choose from : sprays, gels, pendants diffusing a repellent. Most of them are non-toxic, however, they are not recommended for use near food crops. The use of a substance requires systematic and repetitive exposure, the frequency depending on the weather conditions. These preparations are certainly suitable for small garden tunnels, but with large productions, this method is not really optimal.

Visual repellents

These can be bird silhouettes, similar to the ones found on the road signs, black or reflective. They are glued onto transparent materials to imitate a flying predator. In stores, offers also include models resembling a falcon or an owl, but they only work for a while. As far as accessories without movement and sound are concerned, the birds quickly get used to them and do not fear them anymore.

An effective though more expensive solution, used in vineyards and orchards, are kites resembling a bird of prey in flying mode. These are placed on telescopic tubes dug into the ground, and strapped on a string. This is an optimal solution when cultivating orchards or vineyards under the cover of seasonal polytunnels.

Nets for birds

This is the most effective and at the same time cheapest form of protection for crops against birds. The net placed on the structure makes it impossible for any animal to get to the fruits and vegetables. When choosing netting and mesh, remember to opt for small holes, so even the smallest bird will not squeeze through.
Of course, the same effect will be obtained using foil on the greenhouse. However, if you need to remove the film, we recommend applying a net against insects or birds.

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