Only a few types of birds, notably crows, black birds, house sparrows and starlings, make pests of themselves in the lawn and garden. If you notice birds pecking at crops, take preventative measures before your feathered friends decide to designate the area as a permanent feeding station. Birds can target seeds, tender young plants, corn, and fruit. They can peck holes into leaves, make seeds and seedlings disappear completely, partially eat ripe fruit, and pull up turf.

Repellents are one option for prevention of damage by birds. Reflectors, fluttering objects, and scarecrows are other options and may reduce damage briefly, but birds soon learn to ignore such devices. For a more effective deterrent, protect seedlings in row covers or wire mesh screens, and drape bird netting over fruit trees and berry bushes. Use materials with approximately ½ inch diameter holes and secure all edges. Suspend netting well away from plants; otherwise, birds will peck at the fruit right through it.

Observe pesky birds to see what habitats they prefer, then change or eliminate those areas. For example if crows like to congregate on a brush pile, clear it away. It’s also helpful to eliminate weeds, since their seeds attract some birds.

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