Not everyone wants to attract birds to their garden, especially if the birds are universally regarded as pests (for example starlings, pigeons, and seagulls) and are visiting your garden in large numbers frequently causing all manner of a nuisance. So, if you’re looking at ways to keep birds out of your garden we provide some helpful tips on how to prevent them from seeing your garden as a safe haven.
Your garden could be a magnet for birds due to one or as is more likely a combination of the following:
You regularly feed the birds using bird feeders. Your intention may be to only feed the smaller birds in your garden but by providing a regular source of food, you are also inviting the bigger birds (and the squirrels) to join in too! Even if they can’t access the food on your bird feeders, they will gather to scavenge for the food below them. All birds are messy so the space under and around your bird feeders will provide enough food to keep them coming back for more of the same.
You regularly feed the birds with scraps, dispersed on garden tables and your lawn. This will encourage the larger pest birds to return and to keep the smaller birds away.
Do you have a garden pond? Birds are attracted to any accessible supply of water so your pond will be a magnet for birds to return daily and will lead to other birds of the same species gathering too. They will also bathe in this water. The same principle applies to birdbaths. Even the smallest birdbath will provide enough space for a bird such as a seagull or a pigeon to perch on. And any out of sight plant pots and saucers that can gather rainwater will be ideal for a cautious bird to drink from and return to.
You provide ‘perching’ areas in your garden ranging from your garden shed, and office in the garden to conservatory guttering and patio furniture. If a bird can perch on a surface in your garden, safe from humans, they will do so. And because birds are habit-forming, they will return. Your roof has perching areas too, for example, a large chimney pot, satellite dishes, and dormer windows. Birds will gather in these areas using their vaulted position to swoop into your garden for food before returning to their safe space.
Should you have solar panels in your garden or on your roof, birds will be attracted to the space underneath them and to any wires which they will happily displace and destroy. Solar panel proofing can be a great way to stop birds from nesting and damaging them.
You have a plentiful supply of trees and bushes. Birds love to perch and to gather on branches before accessing the food from your feeders.
Ensure you dispose of leftover food correctly. Unless they are placed in a tamper-proof bin bag securely inside your outdoor bin larger birds, especially seagulls will peck at the bag to reach the contents.
Are there plentiful nesting opportunities? – this can be in the form of bushes, trees, and large shrubs that are rarely pruned, to the gutters in your garden outbuildings that are rarely cleared leaving you unaware of the nests. You are also providing the nesting material as well as a safe space for the nests themselves.
If you have a lawn, it is an open invitation for birds to dig and access the bugs and worms that live under the surface. Birds also love to scavenge amongst bark chippings and other easy to displace coverings that are designed to make your beds more attractive or to retain moisture. This activity is especially prevalent in those areas of your garden that are tucked away or a distance from your doors.
Should you have trees in your garden, birds will dig happily in the flower beds underneath knowing they can return to the branches in a split second should they be disturbed from digging activities.
If you want to deter birds from using your garden as a site for feeding, drinking, nesting, and scavenging there are simple things you can do:
Stop feeding them!
Secure all food rubbish and don’t leave it overnight in your garden.
Clear your gutters regularly so that you are not providing nesting materials.
Put a net over your pond.
Walk around your garden to discover the areas that are attracting birds (usually marked with bird droppings) Can bushes be cut back and trees pruned?
Remove all containers that can harbour water.
Clean the areas behind garden buildings.
Store patio furniture away especially in the winter months when you are less likely to be using it.
Keep patio areas clean and free of bird droppings.
Have a friendly word with your neighbour if the bird problem is coming from your neighbour’s garden.
Remove bird nests. A pigeon for example will return to the nests they have created year after year.
Adopt a rescue cat. Thousands of cats are looking for a forever home and in exchange for your love and attention, they will keep the birds away!
Sometimes despite your best efforts at keeping birds out of your garden – especially the larger birds such as seagulls and pigeons, prove impossible. Effective Professional methods include:
Discreet netting placed on key perching points including on roof areas where birds are gathering regularly.
Discreet bird spikes are placed on windowsills, around dormer windows, and other perching areas.
Using non-toxic repellents such as Fire Gel on windowsills.
Protecting solar panels with unobtrusive but effective PVC frames.
However, before recommending any professional treatments, a pest control company should undertake a survey of your garden and home. They will be able to recommend the right treatment or combination of treatments that, in conjunction with your efforts will be successful in keeping the pest birds away.
Please get in touch if you are experiencing problems in your garden with birds.