How to Keep Birds off Your Seedlings

Three Methods:Creating a Bird BarrierScaring Birds with SightScaring Birds with Sound

Birds have a tendency to eat tiny plants that are just starting to grow. If you're trying to grow vegetables, this can be a major problem - your entire crop could be gone before you've even started. Lucky for you, there are several ways to keep the birds at bay and save your seedlings.

Method 1
Creating a Bird Barrier

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    Construct a tunnel made of bird netting. Netting is the preferred way to keep birds away from seedlings and is very easy to implement. Use bamboo poles, tall stakes or fence posts to create a framework around your plants. Drape your netting over the stakes and anchor it to the ground using bent wire.[1]
    • Try to drape your netting so it forms a V-shaped tent. This will prevent birds from accessing and pulling on the plants.
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    Protect your seedlings with soda bottles. Cut the bottom off a clean, clear soda bottle. Position the bottle so it rests over the seedling, then remove the soda cap. This method allows sunlight to reach your seedling, while still keeping the plant out of reach of roaming birds.[2]
    • This method can also be done using upside-down berry baskets.
    • As your seedlings grow, you may have to prop up your bottles or baskets using bricks or rocks.
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    Use fishing line to create a barrier. Birds are easily confused by wire, so fishing line is a cheap and easy way to keep them away from your seedlings. Plant stakes, fence posts or bamboo poles around your garden and weave fishing line between the posts, above the plants.[3]
    • If you don’t have fishing line, thread or wire will also work.

Method 2
Scaring Birds with Sight

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    Build a scarecrow. Birds are scared of humans, but since you can’t stand in your garden full time, construct a scarecrow to guard your garden on your behalf. To create your scarecrow, tie two sticks together with string to create a cross. Dress your scarecrow in old clothes and stuff him with hay or straw to give him a shape. You can create a face for your scarecrow by drawing on an old burlap bag and attaching the bag to the stick using your string. Mount your scarecrow in your garden to keep the birds away.[4]
    • If you don’t want to build a scarecrow, scary masks or owl silhouettes also work. The goal is to frighten the birds, so be creative.[5]
    • Move your scarecrow around your garden occasionally, so the birds don’t get suspicious.
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    Hang CDs from a clothesline. Birds are scared of their own reflections, so hanging reflective surfaces around your garden can be a great way of keeping them away. Hang CDs or DVDs at intervals around your seedlings; you can attach them to a clothesline or to stakes planted throughout your garden.[6]
    • Mirrors or any other reflective material can also work for this method.
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    Make scary balloons. Garden centers and online retailers sell balloons with scary faces on them to terrify birds. You can easily make your own version of these using Mylar balloons. Use permanent, non-washable markers to draw scary faces on your balloons. Secure them to posts around your garden using ribbon or tape.[7]
    • Make sure to move your balloons around every couple of days to keep the birds on their toes.

Method 3
Scaring Birds with Sound

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    Hang pie tins around your garden. As mentioned previously, birds are scared of their own reflections, but they also don’t like loud noises. Hang your pie tins on a clothesline or mount them on stakes. The loud noises they make when the wind blows them into one another is sure to keep the birds away.[8]
    • When hanging or mounting your pie tins, make sure to place them closely together so they can touch and rub against each other.
    • If you don’t have pie tins, you can substitute other kitchen utensils, provided they are metallic.
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    Play scary bird sounds. Birds use their sense of hearing to help them avoid predators, but you can also use this to your advantage. Place a CD player in your garden and play recorded sounds of predators on loop.[9]
    • When creating your bird mix, include lots of eagle, owl and vulture noises. These are all predatory birds and their calls are sure to terrify smaller birds.[10]
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    Hang wind chimes. Wind chimes are the most innocuous way to keep birds away from your seedlings; they look pretty, sound pretty and are very cost effective. Birds, however, don’t like the chiming and tend to steer clear of them. Hang your wind chimes above your seedlings and enjoy the pretty music (and your bird-free plants.)[11]
    • You can also try substituting bells for wind chimes.


  • Not all methods will work for all birds. Play around and find a strategy that works for you and your garden.
  • Birds will generally catch on to your methods after a while. Keep them guessing by switching up your strategies every few weeks.

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds