When birds help themselves to fruit and berries in your garden, it’s time to intervene. Keep wildlife out of your backyard with these measures.
Birds sense when fruit is ripe on trees and shrubs in the garden. Especially at harvest time, many of them are seduced by the sweet scent and strikingly bright color of the cherries and berries. Of course, it’s perfectly all right for a hungry star to snack on a currant. But it becomes a problem when whole flocks of birds get hold of your fruit and that leads to real crop failures. After all the trouble you made with the care of the plants, you probably want to prevent that.
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But declaring the entire garden a bird-free zone is not the solution. Just like all the other animals in the garden, birds occupy an important place in the ecosystem and contribute to biodiversity. There are measures that you can implement quickly, but which may not last very long, and those that you should prepare at the beginning of the season, but which have a lasting effect.
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Scare birds away without much effort
In general, abrupt visual and acoustic stimuli trigger a flight reflex in birds. Light, movement and noise scare them off, but birds learn quickly. They get used to the sounds and movements when the patterns repeat and they realize there is no real danger from them.
Therefore, especially a combination of these measures is promising. If you keep changing the patterns and locations of the measures you install, they will remain effective longer.
Materials that create light reflections and move in the wind are a very simple but effective way to scare birds away. The simplest variant: Tie strips of aluminum foil around the branches so that the ends of the foil can move in the wind.
Somewhat more advanced and beautiful are mobiles made of reflective materials. For this craft you can use aluminum foil, CDs, small mirrors and anything reflective you can get your hands on. You can also hang the mobile on a branch and let it do its work. Or you can go straight for a sparkling wind chime that moves and makes noises that seem unnatural to the birds.
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A scarecrow as a signal: "Here is occupied."
The classic among the bird protection measures is the scarecrow. The effectiveness of a motionless human dummy is controversial. However, with a little skill and movable elements that flutter in the wind, you increase the likelihood that the scarecrow will serve its purpose.
ÄThe same applies to animal dummies. Birds are smart animals and will quickly see through your attempt. If you put the dummies in a different place from time to time, the birds will not get used to them so quickly. Even better: defensive kites. These are kites in the shape of birds of prey, which are anchored in the ground in a few minutes and are held by a flexible rod several meters high and a rope. This is how defensive kites look like a scarecrow sailing in the wind.
Electronic bird repellent
A very aggressive and therefore not necessarily the gentlest method is to keep the birds away by an acoustic signal, which is triggered by a motion sensor. These devices often emit a sound in the ultrasonic range, which humans do not perceive, but probably some other animal. For example, those who also want to expel cats from the garden, sometimes resort to such a device.
For reasons of animal love, we would like to advise you against this method, as mentioned at the beginning.
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Keep birds away permanently
As a rule, permanent solutions are less disturbing. Instead, the birds are denied access to the fruit or are lured to another location. But even here, not all methods are harmless.
Spreading bird nets
Bird netting is inexpensive and quite effective at keeping birds from tampering with the tree. However, such fruit nets also have some disadvantages. This already begins with the spreading of the net: Alone you will not cover a somewhat higher grown tree with a net. For this you need some helping hands and a securely standing ladder.
Such a net can also be dangerous for birds. Some birds simply overlook the net or try to get to the fruit anyway. They can get caught in the net and in the worst case strangled. If you decide to use a bird protection net, it should therefore be as tight as possible. But then you will not be able to reach the tree so easily yourself.
Attach nesting box to the tree
Installing a nesting box in the middle of your berry-bearing plants sounds absolutely counterproductive. But not all birds like the fruits of your garden. Crows and magpies will tend to leave your fruit alone and at the same time scare off other birds. And even if a pair of starlings, which like to eat the fruit from the tree, moves into the shelter, the measure has paid off. These starlings, which now feel at home here, will eat "their" food Defend the tree against other birds from now on. You only have to share the fruit with this one pair of starlings.
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Guard dogs and other pets
Not only birds drive each other away. If you keep a dog or a cat and let them into the garden, you will hardly be visited by flocks of birds. Dogs are noisy and move fast, which makes them an ideal alarm system against birds. Cats, on the other hand, are hunters and lie in wait for the birds that want to help themselves to your tree. At the same time, however, cats are such a great danger to birds that environmentalists are always calling for greater regulation of cat ownership. In the Netherlands it was recently even discussed whether the keeping of free-roaming cats should be banned.
Provide alternative food
A solution that needs some lead time, but is all the more effective for it: plant feed alternatives in the form of berry-bearing woody plants away from the kitchen garden! Shrubs and small trees, for example, in the front yard, attract birds away from other fruits. In the process you do not have to sacrifice berries that you want to eat yourself. There is a wide range of fruits loved by starlings. Whether dogwood, rowan, elderberry or weeping cherry, privet, cornelian cherry rock pear or ivy berries: Choose one or two plants and serve up a meal for the birds.
Set up birdbaths
Starlings and other birds don’t always eat fruit just to satisfy their hunger. Berries, cherries, and grapes contain a lot of water and replenish the animals’ fluid stores. If there is no other suitable source of water and the birds are thirsty, they will also take advantage of the fruit for this reason.
Logical consequence: Place a bird bath in the garden, but not too close to the tree. Which variants of birdbaths there are and what you should pay attention to, so that the birds are safe, we tell you here:
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