How to make your berries bird-resistant on the cheap

I like birds, even in my garden.  They eat pests and they’re fun to watch.  Lately, however, robins have been ravaging my strawberry patch — eating those juicy berries before I can have a chance to pick some for myself.  But there’s hope — and the secret may just be in your cupboard.

Using reflective streamers to keep the birds away

Vineyards use reflective streamers in their grapes to deter birds.  I’ve been able to replicate these streamers using potato chip bags with the Mylar-like reflective interior.  Some of these bags are not yet compostable, and they aren’t recyclable, so why not put that shiny finish to good use in the garden?

Materials

  • foil-lined or potato chip bags (don’t worry, I’m not being compensated by the parent company of Doritos brand)
  • metal or wooden stakes or stiff wire (pretty much anything you can poke in the ground will work)
  • scissors

Instructions

  1. Cut the potato chip bag into several strips about an inch wide.  You’ll end up with 8 or 9 loops.
  2. Cut each loop open to make a strip.  We’re interested in the inside reflective surface of the bag, which will deter the birds.
  3. Tie each strip around a stake.
  4. Place stakes in the ground near your plants.  The streamers will help prevent birds from eating your strawberries, tomatoes, and other garden produce.

And there you have it.  Those birds will be so annoyed by those reflective streamers fluttering in the breeze, that they’ll go eat your neighbor’s strawberries instead.

Other ways to put reflection (and recycling) to work for you in the garden

  • Discarded or scratched CDs work great to hang in and around fruits and fruit trees to deter birds.  Save the ones that come in junk mail or pick up some one-hit wonders at a yard sale.
  • Make a “wind chime” out of old tin cans, lids, and utensils to hang in your garden.  Not only will the reflective surfaces deter birds, but the noise the items make will also act as a deterrent.

What other natural methods have you used to keep birds away from your strawberry patch?  I’d love to learn new techniques — share them below in the comments.

Stacie Humpherys is an engineer, graphic artist, and farmer who lives on her very own petite farmstead just outside of Middleton, Idaho.  Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

About Stacie

Stacie Humpherys is an engineer, graphic artist, and farmer who lives on her very own petite farmstead just outside of Middleton, Idaho. Say hi on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Beth Gandy says:

    Thanks for the idea. Lots of sites say to use bird netting, but I tried netting my fig bush once in Texas and removed it after I found a bird had gotten caught in the netting and died a (probably) horrible death.

    Bird netting is death to birds. I do not value my strawberries that much.

    Again — thanks. I’ll try the streamers or some such.

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