by Alex A. Kecskes
If you’re like many homeowners, you probably have one or even several fruit trees. You carefully planted and pruned them. Even sprayed for insects. Your trees have finally grown big enough to bear fruit--when the birds arrive. They perch and peck, and before you know it, the fruit looks like Swiss cheese with half the fruit rotting on the ground. Not a good scenario. So what can you do to keep pest birds out of your trees?
Forget BB guns and poisons. They’re too dangerous, especially with kids and pets around. What you need are proven bird control solutions that are both humane and effective. Here are a few of the most popular pest bird deterrents:
Scare Bird Repellents
Many homeowners and professional growers have used these inexpensive bird deterrents to keep pest birds out of their trees. There are several different types, but they all accomplish the same thing: they make birds feel uneasy and cause them to move on to someone else’s yard. Perhaps the simplest of these deterrents is the reflective foil and banner tape. Both reflect the sunlight as they wave in the breeze. You can also get balloons covered with large predator eyes. These make pest birds feel the imminent presence of a large predator. For best results, you need to move these bird repellents around from time to time, lest birds get used to them.
Lightweight Plastic Bird Netting
Plastic bird netting works well for small fruit and nut trees (about 8 feet tall). Keeping trees pruned and small makes it easier to use bird netting. Netting is also ideal for berries, grapevines and vegetable gardens. Just be sure to properly tie bird netting at the bottom to prevent birds from becoming tangled in the netting. And allow a space between the fruit and the netting or birds will simply sit on the branch and eat your fruit through the holes in the netting. Plastic bird netting comes in various mesh sizes to exclude pigeons, sparrows, starlings, seagulls and other birds. The best high quality bird netting is available in various colors to blend in with your trees or garden. One manufacturer offers a bird netting kit for fast, easy installation. The kits include perimeter cable, cable crimps, turnbuckles, intermediate attachments, hog rings, and accessories and tools.
Sonic Bird Repellents
Easy to set up and use, Sonic Bird Repellents broadcast distress and predator calls that make birds far too uneasy to feed on your fruit trees. One popular sonic system will generate distress and predator calls for 22 different species of birds. The calls resemble natural birdcalls to humans and won’t annoy pets. A volume control lets you control the sounds from 65 to 105 decibels. You can even program the system to turn on or off at night. The best bird sonic units include a built-in speaker that protects backyards up to an acre.