Birds in the Garden

On a handful of occasions, I’ve spotted birds in the garden. Naturally, I thought they didn’t belong in the garden, so I shooed them away.

Curious about what could be attracting the birds to the garden, I did a little research and learned birds can be beneficial to gardens.

According to the National Gardening Association, birds feed on harmful insects and weed seeds. However, in addition to helping prevent weeds and consuming bad bugs, birds will eat crops in a garden, making them pests.

When I’ve spotted birds in our garden, they were perched along the tomato plants. As soon as I got near the garden, they flew away. Inspecting the plants, they looked fine but looking at the ground below the tomato plants, I spotted a few half eaten tomatoes.

Flocks of birds can destroy plants, according to NGA. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear as though the birds will eat all of our tomatoes. Since my bird sightings, I’ve only seen two or three half eaten tomatoes beneath the tomato plants.

But if birds are a problem in your garden, there are a few things you can do. Scare tactics will work for a few days, according to the NGA. Noisemakers and bird repellents—both commercially made and homemade hot pepper spray—will work but the NGA says the best way to control bird damage is through “exclusion.”

The NGA recommends covering crops with bird netting two to three weeks before fruit matures, and laying floating row covers over germinating seedlings.