Life is confusing for a bird. One day you’re eating sunflowers out of a bird feeder, the next these pesky humans say no, don’t eat my grass seed! What gives? Well pesky human, here’s our guide on how to keep birds from eating grass seed. So you can have a lawn, or something like that.
There’s nothing better than enjoying a delicious seed buffet off the ground. Especially when kind people so graciously lay it out, ripe for the taking.
Oh wait, that’s grass seed. You need that if you want to grow new grass or fill in sparse patches. Laying grass seed is also a great way to help choke out weeds and generally make your lawn look fuller.
Re-seeding should be done in the early fall, especially if you live somewhere where it snows. The seeds will go dormant over the winter and start to grow in the spring. Not only does that mean less effort, it also means less watering since the weather will be milder and wetting during the spring months.
Except the fall and winter is also a time where birds face shortages of food. That means that your grass seed, which is already pretty tempting for hungry visitors, becomes a scavenged food source.
Of course, birds will eat your grass seed any time of the year. So it’s always a good idea to try and prevent that as much as possible.
So how can you keep birds from eating your grass seed?
Use a Scary Decoy
Ah! It’s a hawk! Birds trying to steal your grass seed aren’t predatory, which means… They’re prey. By putting a few fake hawk or owl statues around the seeded area you can scare small birds off using their natural predators.
Make sure you move the little statues around the yard every couple of days so the birds don’t realise they’re not alive.
Try Popular Bird Deterrents
There are all kinds of DIY and commercial bird deterrent options that can keep them out of your yard and away from that delicious grass seed.
Wind chimes can be used to keep birds away from certain areas in your yard. Birds will get used to the sounds so try and change up the style or location every now and then.
Reflecting light messes with the bird’s senses and makes it uncomfortable for them to visit an area. Angling these to catch the sun and move around will give you the best results. You can buy them, or hang up old CDs for a cheap idea.
Give Birds Something Else to Munch On
Birds, like most animals, are opportunistic. Seed from a feeder is a lot easier to access than trying to peck grass seeds out of the ground.
First, choose the right bird feeder. Get something that the birds who frequent your yard will be able to access. Then fill it with high quality bird seed.
Where you hang the feeder matters. It should be close enough to the area to attract the birds, but far enough that they don’t get lured over to the grass seed you’re trying to protect.
Make sure your deterrents are located far away from the feeder so they don’t have an adverse effect on the birds.
Cover Up the Grass Seed
What you do will depend on the time of year. If it’s winter, you can cover it with almost anything including a tarp. However, when the seeds are germinating you need something that allows air and moisture to pass through.
Burlap is a useful and inexpensive cover option. Lay the sheets down, making sure they’re weighted so a spring gust doesn’t lift them up. They’ll protect the seeds while they germinate into the soil without smothering them completely.
Straw or Mulch
Both of these are great insulators. They’ll protect the grass seeds from birds by making them harder to find, but still allow the grass to grow underneath.
The challenging part is that you’ll have to remove the straw or mulch once the grass seeds have started to germinate.
These are designed to keep birds away and work quite well. What’s nice about a bird net is that it can be left on top of the seeds for longer than covers so you can make sure the grass has germinated properly.
Once you’re done growing grass, bird nets are also useful to protect your garden.
Overseed the Area
Anytime you plant grass seed you’re going to face a bunch of forces that will get in the way of healthy, thick grass. Besides snacking birds blowing wind can move seeds, rain can wash them away, and other critters like rodents also eat grass seeds.
By putting down more seed than you need you up the chances of enough seeds being left to cover the area.
Use Bird-Resistant Seed
No, really! There’s grass seed out there that’s more resistant to birds. It has a special coating on it that doesn’t taste as good to birds as regular grass seed. They might still eat it, but it will be a lot less. Especially if there’s an alternative food source nearby.
Water the Grass Seeds
Grass seeds need a lot of water to grow properly. If you’re planting during the summer, it’s even more important that the seeds get plenty of water to germinate.
If you use a gentle sprinkler, the birds won’t mind. They might even enjoy getting a bath! I know I’ve seen birds in my yard plenty of times enjoying my arch style sprinkler.
Instead get something with more pressure and faster movement. The kind that rotate around spraying and making a loud noise while spraying a jet of water are perfect. It combines multiple things birds don’t like: noise, fast movement, and being sprayed with jets of water.
Plus the lawn gets watered too!
The Best Way to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed
Of course, the best way to keep birds from eating grass seed is to combine a few of the above methods. Protect the seeds if you can, or at least surround the area with deterrents.
Put food nearby but not too close. Finally, put down plenty of bird-resistant grass seed in the area. If you do all these things you’re likely to be successful – and the end result will be nice, thick grass growth!
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