Birds In The Garden: 10 PROVEN Tips to Attract & Deter
Are you a bird enthusiast that wants to learn how to attract birds to your garden?
Or are you a garden enthusiast that wishes to deter birds from your garden?
Regardless of your answer, The Gardening Dad is here today to bring you proven solutions!
After hours of research, trial and error, and talking to experts in the industry I have constructed:
The Definitive Guide to birds in your garden!
Why are birds beneficial to your garden? (And which species you should attract!)
How To Attract Birds To Your Garden (5 Tips)
Why are birds bad for your garden? (And which species you should keep away!)
How To Deter Birds From Your Garden (5 Tips)
Why are birds beneficial to your garden?
Attracting birds provides THREE main benefits.
1. Birds Help Eat and Control Bugs!
Birds eat a variety of insects, aphids, mosquitoes, spiders, and other bugs that can destroy gardens. Attracting certain species of birds to your garden can reduce your need to use pesticides.
Reducing pesticides means you will save money and not be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in your food. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Here is a list of birds that LOVE eating bugs and other garden pests!
- Bluebirds feast on grasshoppers, moths, and beetles. These insects tend to eat corn, barley, fruit, berries, roses, and soybeans.
- Northern Cardinals will eat beetles, snails, and stinkbugs. These bugs tend to eat roses, asparagus, soybeans, corn, lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers.
- Chickadees eat aphids, ants, and caterpillars. These insects tend to eat cabbage, peaches, apples, potatoes, and corn.
- Grosbeaks eat larvae, caterpillars, and beetles. These insects tend to eat tomatoes, soybeans, fruit, and berries.
- Nuthatches eat earwigs, ants, and borers. These insects tend to eat beans, beets, strawberries, potatoes, cucumbers, and corn.
- Orioles eat caterpillars, larvae, and beetles. These insects tend to eat fruit, berries, tomatoes, roses, and asparagus.
- Sparrows eat beetles, cutworms, and caterpillars. These insects tend to eat tomatoes, fruit, roses, soybeans, and berries.
2. Birds Pollinate Plants!
If you are interested in learning about what the best plants are to attract bees and butterflies to your garden then I highly recommend reading The Gardening Dad’s article:
Another benefit of birds in the garden is they prevent and contain weeds by eating the seeds before they ever sprout.
Finches, towhees, and sparrows are the best birds at consuming weed seeds, which can quickly spread in a matter of weeks and destroy a perfect garden.
How to Attract Birds To Your Garden (5 Proven Tips)
The tips below are great to use, regardless of whether you are a beginning or advanced gardener.
1. Use a Bird Bath Near your Garden
Not many gardeners use a bird bath to offer a fresh source of water. And when someone does purchase a birdbath, they typically don’t keep up with the maintenance!
But if you do, then you will reap incredible rewards!
Having a birdbath will attract more birds than a bird feeder. Only certain birds are attracted to bird feeders, while all birds are attracted to water.
Don’t believe me?
Check out this incredible video of a Red-shouldered Hawk drinking from Scott’s bird bath:
Here are a few different options and styles to consider:
- Best Choice Products Bird Bath: This is your standard birdbath. It features the classic round bowl and a sturdy base.
- Evergreen Garden Hanging Bird Bath: Hanging birdbaths are great! They feature a smaller base and but hold less water. This is a perfect birdbath to hang from a pole or off a deck.
- Gray Bunny Deck Mounted Birdbath: Again, a smaller type of birdbath. But this is perfect if you want great views. Also, they are typically easy to clean and manage.
- JCs Wildlife Ground Birdbath Bowl: If you want the best chance to attract birds to your birdbath then go with a ground level birdbath. This is because birds usually drink at ground level. It will also help attract other beneficial insects that can help crop pollination.
2. Use a Bird Feeder in the Garden
If you are a bird enthusiast, you most likely have a bird feeder. But if you are a gardener, there is a chance you don’t.
Bird feeders are the most popular way to attract birds to your garden. When combined with a bird bath you will continually attract birds to your garden.
When shopping for bird feeders make sure it is easy to clean and refill. Also, you want to make sure water drains effectively, and it is durable.
Make sure to place the bird feeder near the garden and in an area that has vegetation which can provide a natural habitat and protection for the birds while they feed.
Here are a few of my favorite bird feeders:
First, it protects birdseed from the weather. With the rainy weather we receive in Ohio, this protects the food at all times. Also, it can hold several days of food and is easy to refill.
One of the benefits of this bird feeder is that it dispenses food at the bottom. Also, it has a great large area for birds to perch. And you can even hang it from a pole!
If you could only choose one bird feeder for your garden, it’s hard to go wrong with a quality tube feeder!
You can almost always see Droll Yankee tube feeders featured above in the live stream of Bird Watching HQ’s Live Cams. This bird feeder features multiple perches and ports for birds to feed and come in different sizes. Also, its simple design makes it easy to open and refill.
Best of all is that it is incredibly durable and has a lifetime warranty!
I love hummingbirds, and my guess is you do too. And remember from earlier hummingbirds help pollinate your flowers!
If you want to attract them to your yard, the Hummzinger is a fantastic and reliable nectar feeder.
One of my favorite features is that it’s easy to clean and refill due to its dish design!
To read a more thorough list of incredible bird feeders then I highly suggest reading Bird Watching HQ’s article:
3. Use Food That Bird’s Can’t Resist In Your Feeders!
I have an essential warning I need you to remember:
DO NOT BUY THE LEAST EXPENSIVE BIRDSEED YOU CAN FIND AT THE STORE!
The cheapest food that is typically featured is junk and usually contains ingredients that most birds will NEVER eat. Some of the most common offenders are milo, wheat, and oats.
To attract the MOST birds to your garden, stick to a combination of these foods:
4. Plant Trees, Shrubs, & Flowers near your Garden
Planting native trees and shrubs in your backyard will provide some things that bird feeders can’t replicate.
Trees and shrubs provide shelter, shade, and places for birds to raise their young.
I was attempting to provide some recommendations for which trees you should consider planting. The problem is that selecting the best native plants is incredibly specific to your region. As you can imagine, gardeners living in California will need different recommendations than hobbyists living in Flordia or Ohio.
My advice is to check out this Native Plant Search Tool that Audubon provides on their website. It searches the best tree’s, shrubs, and flowers to put around your garden to attract birds!
My advice is to plant at least three different types of trees/bushes in your yard. This will give you a better chance of attracting different types of birds.
Finally, plant in areas that serve dual purposes. If you shade your house, it can lead to energy savings. Also, if you plant near other plants, it can lead to a greater chance of pollination.
Flowers that Attract Birds
The below list are flowers that I recommend planting near your garden, which will give a greater chance at attracting birds (and bee’s) to pollinate vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Please note that you can click on the link to purchase on Amazon.
- Coral Bells
- Trumpet Vine
- Flowering Tobacco
- Bee Balm
If you are ever interested in growing any of these plants from seed, especially Lavender then I recommend reading TheGardeningDad’s article How to Grow Lavender from Seed: 15 SIMPLE Tips
5. Plant Fruits and Berries
Plants and berries are fantastic for both gardeners and bird enthusiasts. If you are a gardener, there is nothing better then fresh fruit from your garden. And if you are a bird enthusiast, it is a great way to attract birds to your garden naturally.
If you need good fruit trees or berry bushes I can’t say enough good things about buying them through Amazon. It is where I buy almost all of my gardening supplies and plants.
How to Deter Birds From Taking Over Your Garden! (5 Tips)
While we all love watching birds, not all of us love birds in our garden. And while birds can serve many great purposes for our garden, they can also cause EXTREME damage.
Certain birds will eat your prized fruit and vegetables, destroy your plants, or attract other pests.
Which birds should I keep out of my garden?
Here is a list of bird species I suggest repelling and deterring:
These types of birds can destroy your garden and resources nearby. They eat tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, corn, seeds, and sunflowers.
Make sure to switch things up below constantly. Birds are incredibly smart and will figure out your tricks. If you rotate the tips below, you should not have any problems.
1. Use Bird Netting On Your Garden Plants.
Let’s not make this complicated. The most effective way to keep birds out of your garden is to use bird netting.
All you need to do is place bird netting over your plants or around the framework of your garden. Make sure to tie down the corners, so the mesh does not blow away. Bird netting is notorious for getting other small animals caught. And we don’t want that!
An additional tip is to purchase a UV resistant netting. This will increase durability so that you can use it for years to come!
Here are several bird netting options that I have personally used with 100% success.
It is made with 3/5 inch mesh to protect your plants. It has frustration free installation and is the strongest netting on Amazon. What I love about it though is that it is excellent for all year use. This is my favorite option!
This may not be the prettiest option, but it is simple. This is a sturdy and durable bird netting that is safe for birds. It is easy to install and store and best of all is reusable.
This final option is perfect for berry bushes, fruit trees, and strawberries. It is made with 3.4-inch mesh that is UV resistant and made in the USA!
If bird netting is not for you, there are a few other ideas you can use instead.
One idea is that you can place inverted crates or disposable (bottomless) cups over seedlings. This will protect your seeds from birds.
Or you can even place chicken wire over the seedbed. This will again humanely deter birds.
I use chicken wire around all my roses, berry bushes, and even fruit trees. It is incredibly durable and even holds up in winter blizzards and furious winds. Best of all is that it is easy to install and does not harm birds one bit. It also serves as a great way to deter deer from your yard too!
2. Have a Party (Yes a Party!) In Your Garden.
If you are looking for a cheap, easy, and fun way to deter birds from your garden, then I recommend either spacing balloons, setting up a scarecrow, or hanging shiny ribbon in your yard! (or all three!)
Birds are naturally scared of shiny objects and items that represent predator movements. And if you have ever seen a scary movie you know a scarecrow is a no brainer for protecting your garden.
Also, every month I would rotate the above materials around the garden. If you do not, birds will become used to your tactics and promptly destroy your garden. 🙂
3. Go High-Tech to Deter Birds in your Garden
Sometimes it takes just a little extra technology to keep birds away consistently.
And there is no better product than what BirdBusters offer.
The Birdbusters Blaster is quite simple. You press the push-lever, and it makes such an incredibly loud and annoying noise to scare the birds away. Your hope is they remember this noise and quit coming to your garden for days on end!
4. Scare Birds Away With Realistic Decoys!
If high-tech is not for you or if you don’t want to drive your neighbors crazy then I recommend purchasing a bird diverter.
A bird diverter is something that you place in your garden that birds will see and (hopefully) be frightened away!
Bird diverters today are much different than even a decade ago. They are more realistic, more durable, and effective at keeping birds out of the garden. I would highly recommend getting a bird diverter that has predator’s eyes. Or if you can’t find something that fits your needs with predator’s eyes, then I suggest a reflector surface to scare birds away.
Here are a few popular bird diverters you can try in your garden:
This is one of my favorite decoys and is excellent for scattering garden enemies. It comes with flashing eyes and terrifying sound. It is solar powered and is realistic and durable. Best of all the owl includes a 100% money back guarantee.
This hawk decoy can scare away birds and pests. It is large, has lifelike wings and eyes, and works during the day and night. Lastly, it is incredibly durable and realistic.
5. Distract Pest Birds.
Keeping birds out of the garden is hard work! And even with your best efforts they still might ignore all of the strategies mentioned above.
You may have to distract them by providing an area to visit that is even BETTER than your garden.
Plant additional vegetables, herbs, berries, or fruits. And then sacrifice some of them to the birds. By distracting birds with an unprotected berry bush or a few tomato plants, you can save the rest of your garden. I understand that this is usually not ideal, but it is an effective way to deter birds.
There are many benefits of attracting birds in the garden. There are also many reasons why you want to deter birds too.
This will ultimately depend on the goal of your gardening. This will also depend on where you will live and what birds are in your backyard.
As a reminder, the best ways to attract birds are:
Use birdbaths to provide birds with a place to bathe and drink
Install bird feeders to allow birds to eat consistently. When paired with a bird bath this is the most effective way to attract birds
Plant trees, flowers, and shrubs to provide a habitat for birds
Plant fruits, berries, and vegetables that attract pollinating friendly birds
And of course, buy high-quality birdseed that birds actually eat.
As a reminder, the best ways to deter birds:
Cover plants with bird nets. This is the most effective way to prevent birds from getting into your garden
Hang balloons, shiny ribbons, and scarecrows. The key is to rotate them every month around your garden
Use loud horns. Anything that makes noise, has movements or replicates predators are effective
Buy realistic bird diverters – Any decoy that has predator eyes or reflective surfaces are a great way to keep birds out of your garden
Distract birds by sacrificing several plants. It will help save your garden and harvest long-term.
Some of my favorite articles are:
A special thank you to Scott at Bird Watching HQ for asking me to partner with him. Without his support, this would not be possible!
Paul – The Gardening Dad