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What methods have you seen work other than the standard netting over a plant for keeping birds off plants like blueberries?

  • Most repellents short of gas cannons and pyrotechnics are not very effective. The one thing that is very effective (too effective) is cats. Its estimated that cats kill about 500 million birds in the US every year. You could plant catnip and make a nice sandpit for them but I'm not sure a cat infestation is much better. – max May 29 '16 at 10:27
  • Where would I get cats out in farm country if I don't want one of my own? Do wild hawks work better? – black thumb May 29 '16 at 15:54
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    They use trained falcons at airports which apparently works. I grow up on small farm with plenty of goshawks and sometimes even an osprey. They did not seem to put a huge dent in the bird population. But I have no idea how you would get any large raptors to nest nearby besides feeding them with carcasses (which may not be legal). – max May 29 '16 at 16:15
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    They use raptors at the local vinyards to keep the birds away. But, often the birds are faster then the raptors and can avoid them. And if there's a flock of birds, they can attack/mob the raptor en masse. It's not a good idea to do this, and of course unrealistic to just protect one blueberry bush. – Graham Chiu May 30 '16 at 19:00
  • @GrahamChiu, the raptors aren't there to cull the birds, but to encourage them to go somewhere else, in particular to nest somewhere else. – Chris H May 31 '16 at 14:37
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I diverted the birds from my blueberries by placing them next to my cornus kousa tree which kept them fed. That fruit was much bigger then my berries.

Otherwise there's no realistic option other than building a cage and stringing bird netting over it.

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    What about CDs or something? – black thumb May 30 '16 at 19:47
  • CDs are supposed to scare off butterflies. Never worked for me. – Graham Chiu May 30 '16 at 20:03
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I've never tried it myself, but they say you can paint strawberry sized rocks read and set them near the strawberry plants, the birds come in to try and eat them and find out they're no good. Then they avoid them for the rest of the season.

I would try this with the blueberries. Before they're ripe, hang some blue beads or something they wouldn't like in the bushes. That might help keep them at bay. But like another poster suggest, having an alternative bush nearby that has fruit you don't want seems like a good idea as well.

Here is one of the painted strawberries: enter image description here

Also, something that may or may not work is called a scarecrow. It's a motion activated sprinkler. It's a better deterant for something like dogs, cats, deer, but it might work. When it senses movement it sets off a sprinkler blast to startle them. You're plants get watered at the same time. You probably wouldn't have to paint anything though, just go to a craft store and get some blue beads and tie them up with fishing line. You just have to let the birds think they're getting something and realize that those bushes' berries are "bad".

Scarecrows Sprinkler

  • can you add a picture? – black thumb May 31 '16 at 16:16
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Our blueberries are in pots (the soil pH is too high otherwise). With the pots at the far end of the garden near the hedge, losses were unacceptable despite a cat. Now I've moved the pots and they're against the house wall, the birds take very little. We do occasionally see blue tits, robins and even wrens in the bushes in the breeding season (which overlaps with the fruiting season), but they're all more likely to be going for insects at that time of year. We tend to have food out for the birds all year round, well away from the house and therefore the blueberries.

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Check the price of tulle at the fabric store, maybe get a clearance color in bright pink or something. :) My friend uses that and it works great for keeping away insects and birds.

We made a hoop tunnel over each of my friend's raised beds out of PVC, then bought special clamps to clamp tulle over every tunnel. Clamps come in various sizes.

Spinning flashy pie pans or CDs also work well in most cases. My grandparents swore by them.

If English Sparrows are a problem they are considered an invasive species in the US and you might have to trap and kill them. A Google search for English Sparrow trap. AKA "house sparrow". English sparrows are a big killer of US native song birds, they kill for no reason at all.

  • Can you add an image? – black thumb May 31 '16 at 16:15
  • Go here. It shows you how they made a hoop tunnel on raided beds, which is what I did. – Bulrush May 31 '16 at 18:21

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