In addition to growing plants, many gardeners love to encourage insects and birds to roam the garden. Birds can certainly be helpful, eliminating caterpillars and other pesky pests and consuming messy fruit, but some bird species are downright annoying or harmful. Do you know how to get rid of the birds that cause problems in your home and landscape? Read on for some ideas.
Types of bird damage
In addition to damaging or consuming tender, ripe fruit from trees and beds, birds can spread diseases and pests such as mites, lice, or fleas. Birds are carriers of a surprisingly large number of diseases, which are serious risks to humans. Droppings can stain concrete, damage vehicles, or create slip and fall hazards – and let’s face it, nobody wants to fall into bird poop.
Even if the birds in your yard aren’t disease-riddled poop machines, troublemakers like starlings, pigeons, or English sparrows, they often injure or kill more harmless native birds like bluebirds, purple martins, and woodpeckers. These bullying birds tend to harass smaller birds at feeders, turning your yard into a war zone.
Bird control in the garden
Bird pest control is far from simple and there are few effective natural bird repellents; most experts recommend a variety of scary tactics designed to harass problem birds and lead them to seek shelter elsewhere. When using these scare tactics, remember that birds are intelligent and will quickly adapt to a single scary stimulant, so you will need to rotate several of them to get the best effect. Common scary tactics include audio recordings of endangered bird species, fireworks and predator calls.
In interest to applying scare tactics, you’ll need to block any holes or air-conditioning holes with hardware cloth to prevent unwanted birds from hiding. Destroy all nests that you sure belong to troublesome birds; check trees, bushes and under eaves for hidden nests. Adhesive barriers can also work to repel birds that are only a nuisance in a limited area, but these need to be changed regularly and do not discriminate between species.
You can use bird netting to cover plants that annoying birds find attractive can also be very useful.
If you decide to feed native birds, choose feeders without perches and feed only sunflower, niger, or black safflower seeds that smaller birds prefer.
Where kestrels or hawks are active, you can set up a nest lined with coarse wood chips and roosted away from regular obstacles and activities to encourage them to nest in your yard. These may take a couple of years to attract but will keep many offensive birds in check once established.