stop bird eating grass seeds

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Are you planning to get a new lush green lawn with a beautiful green grass carpet, but don’t know how to keep birds from eating grass seeds?

Well, you are not alone. I had faced a similar problem when I was getting a new grass-covered area on my lawn. At first, I didn’t even think about this problem. I blindly sowed the grass seed and saw birds right after landing in my yard. I then realized that this was going to be an issue to deal with. 

Birds are ferocious eaters, and they pick seeds fast. When other birds see a bird feeding on your lawn, they all land together in no time. This certainly decimates any grass seed before it even had a chance to germinate even if you try to grow it on the raised garden bed

Most common grass types take around 4 to 5 weeks to germinate, so it’s not that you have to try to keep away birds for too long.

Here are some ways you can effectively counter this problem and keep birds away from eating grass seeds. This prevents the extra cost and labor of buying and sowing more seeds.

1. Remove Bird Food Source Before Seeding

If you have trouble keeping birds away from your newly seeded lawn, then the first thing you should do is to change birds’ habits. Birds keep returning to the place where they find the food source.

It’s all fine to feed the birds when they are not a nuisance to your garden. But when you are sowing your yard to germinate a new grass crop, then you don’t want birds to be around as they will be picking your seeds and eating them.

The first thing, you should do a week or two before you the seed is to remove any bird feeders or food sources from your yard.

This will give the birds an indication that it’s time for them to look somewhere else. This prevents the birds from returning to your yard or inviting other feeding birds. 

2. Bury The Grass Seed In The Ground

Birds are visual animals, and they get attracted to any visible food particles such as seeds in the lawn. When sowing the grass seed, rake the seed, so it’s buried or covered by the topsoil.

Add a small amount of water to the topsoil to make the soil stick to the seed. This not only helps with germination but also prevents loose soil surface which birds may find more natural to push around and reach to the grass seed. 

Read More: Deer Repellent: Plants That Deer Hate To Eat

Cover The Lawn

You can create the physical barrier between the bird and the seed by covering the lawn. The benefits are two-fold as it hides the grain from the birds and also makes it hard for the bird to grab the seed.

Here are some common ways you can cover the seeded lawn.

3. Mulching

Mulching is the best way to cover the lawn. The mulching also helps retain moisture from the ground, which supports grass germination. It also acts as an effective protective barrier against hungry birds.

If you are seeding in relatively colder weather, then mulching maintains the ground-level temperature, which improves the growth of the seed and prevents weeds from growing in the lawn.

4. Burlap Sheets

burlap sheet
Burlap Sheets protect the seeds from birds and help with the fast germination

When you freshly sow the seeds in your yard, expect it to take a couple of weeks for the grass to grow properly. In between that time, you have to protect the seeds and provide a suitable growth environment for the seed.

The use of burlap sheets can help you with both these goals. It allows the sunlight, moisture, and heat to pass to the soil surface while creating a visual and physical barrier from the birds.

For people living in a high wind place, mulching may not be a possible alternative due to it being blown away. This exposes the seeds which can be picked by the birds or at worse the seed may get blown away as well.

The use of burlap sheets can solve both these issues. You can nail down burlap sheets to the ground which prevents seeds from being blown away as well as protect seeds from birds. Once the germination has happened and the grass starts growing, you can easily remove the burlap sheet. 

5. Transparent Tarp

Like burlap sheets, the transparent tarp is another good option. This may be helpful if you are planting grass seeds in relatively colder weather. In these seasons, you may not want too much water on the soil. Moreover, you want to retain the heat inside and retain the moisture.

It’s perfect to use when you are germinating grass in either spring or fall. You can get started by placing the tarp on the ground and then tying it down with a wire. You can also place heavy objects such as rock, so the tarp does not get blown away.

The transparent tarp allows the sunlight to pass through the sheet and hold the ground moisture, which is essential during cold weather. However, it may not be a good option in the summer as it may cause the ground to get too hot, which may kill the seed. 

6. Bird Netting

Bird netting is a handy option, but it may not be a practical option in some cases such as the presence of tall trees on the lawn. But when you can use it, it protects the grass lawn seeds by stopping birds from laying their feet on the ground. A good quality bird net is made from nylon materials that are durable and weather resistant.

Using a bird net is straightforward as you place a stake around the four corners of your yard. Hook up the net to stakes on the lawn and stretch it up, so it remains a couple of inches above the ground.

This prevents the birds from reaching the ground to pick the grass seed. As an alternative to bird netting, you can try seed germination and erosion control blanket. These are easy to install and help with the fast growth of the seeds while preventing them from birds.

Bird Deterrents

There are so many predators to the birds, which makes them overly cautious and fearful. You can take it to your advantage and deploy tactics that scare the bird to land in your yard.

Here are some easy-to-implement strategies to deter birds. 

7. Scarecrow

scarecrow in yard
Scarecrow is effective in scaring birds away for a short duration

You may have seen farmers using the scarecrow in their fields to keep birds away. Similarly, by using a scarecrow, you can prevent birds from landing in your yard. You don’t have to go through the hassle of covering or deploying other means.

The scarecrows are cheap to buy and do not require any maintenance. Once you set it up, it works as long as you need it. The only downside with scarecrow is that it’s not useful for a long duration.

Birds quickly notice that there is no danger to them from these life-less scarecrows. And they soon start ignoring the scarecrows and get in your yard in no time. But it’s still an effective short-term solution. 

8. Dummy Predators

fake owl
Place a dummy owl or other bird predators in the lawn to keep birds away

Loud and sudden noise spooks the birds and makes them fly away. When choosing a noise deterrent for birds, you want something which is not too loud, as it may become inconvenient to you or the neighbors.

So, pick a noise generator that creates enough noise to scare the birds while not being distracting humans.

The most common way to generate noise to keep birds away is wind chimes. These tiny little instruments produce a soothing sound when the wind blows through them. These inconsistent sounds scare the birds right away.

You can hang these on your patio or hang them through the tree branch. If you don’t want wind chimes, then you can use tin cans or cutlery tied up with a string and hang it around. 

Reflective Deterrent

The reflective deterrent such as hanging CD or DVD or reflecting tapes scares the birds by shining lights into birds’ eyes. It confuses the bird and prevents it from adapting to the surrounding environment. Tie up the string to the CD or DVDs and hang them 1 to 2 feet apart.

Here’s a quick video on how to correctly use CD and DVD to scare birds away. 

If you don’t have CD or DVD lying around, then you can buy hanging bird reflector tape. These are cheap and effective to scare birds. When hanging these reflective tapes, keep it loose and separated so they can move around with the wind.

These reflective deterrents work best in the sunlight when most birds actively feed. I found this holographic reflective deterrent which also produces sound on winds blowing to be effective in scaring birds both day and night. 

9. Garden Pin Wheel

The garden pinwheels are the shiny moving objects which scare the birds away. The bright and shiny pinwheels are easier to install, and it spins automatically with the wind.
These also act as a decorative feature for your yard while stopping birds from getting in your lawn. 

10. Give Birds Easy Meal 

place bird feeder in lawn
Placing a bird feeder far from the lawn distracts birds and does not pay attention to the grass seeds

For birds, it takes lots of effort in trying to find the seeds from the ground. You can keep them away from the targeted lawn area by luring them with easy feed away from the garden lawn.

Hanging a visible bird feeder away from the lawn draws the attention of birds toward that area. It prevents the bird from paying attention to the grass lawn seeds and invites it to pick delicious seeds from the bird feeder.

The only downside is that you will be attracting more birds in your yard. So make sure to maintain the distance between the lawn and feeder. 

11. Home Pets

If you have pets such as a dog or cat, then you can give them work to keep birds away. Letting your pets go outside on the lawn drives the birds away. Plus, it’s a fun exercise for your pet to chase away any bird which dares to land in your yard.

12. Apply Extra Seeds

Here is the deal, none of the above strategies’ standalone is full proof. Regardless of how actively you defend your newly planted grass seeds, there will always be some chance that some of it will be either eaten by birds, blown away by the wind, or simply rot before germinating.

If you don’t want patchy growth of grass in your yard, then apply extra grass seed in your yard. This will compensate for any grass seed loss for whatever reason. Using 25% to 30% extra grass seed is an ideal balance to get the fully-grown grass without overcrowding it in your yard. 

Over To You

Knowing how to keep birds away from eating grass seed is essential to get a healthy-looking lawn. There is not a single strategy that is completely effective in stopping newly planted seeds from being picked by birds.

In the beginning, start by trying a few of the above strategies and if you don’t see good results, then move on to the next one. You may also try implementing a couple of them altogether.

Based on your circumstance, some of the strategies may be more effective than others. Knowing how to keep birds from eating grass seed and devising the right plan may involve some guessing work.

But once you correctly deploy it, it will be far cheaper to spend the extra money and get the right bird deterrent than redoing your yard. 

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