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11 Smart Ways to Keep Birds Away From Fruit Trees

11 Smart Ways to Keep Birds Away From Fruit Trees

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The sight of backyard birds perching near your property can be delightful. But when flocks of birds land in your garden and wreak havoc all over your fruit trees, the charm begins to wear thin.

Protecting your precious produce from these flying bandits can be quite a hassle, and that’s what this article is all about!

In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through 11 tried and true techniques to help you keep birds away from fruit trees. Let’s dive right in!

1 – Place Bird Netting Around the Canopy of the Tree

One of the best ways to protect tree fruits is to place bird netting around the canopy of the tree, as they’ll make it much harder for birds to access the trees and steal the fruits.

Ideally, you should buy fine-mesh bird netting and then drape it over the top of the tree. You can then gather the netting toward the bottom of the trunk and tie it with plant ties to keep everything in place.

A white, flexible, fine-mesh net is the safest type of netting that can be used for this application, according to RSPCA

The bright color makes them quite visible to animals, while the fine mesh size is small enough to prevent them from getting tangled and caught in the netting.

There are also smaller mesh bags available to cover each fruit. This can be a great alternative to bird netting, depending on the size of your tree.

2 – Place Predator Decoys Near the Tree

Owl Decoy In Tree

Birds have an instinct to avoid areas where potential predators hang out, so they’ll typically avoid your garden if you place predator decoys near the trees.

These decoys must look realistic enough to spook the birds. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent decoy birds available online, especially owl and hawk-shaped ones. These don’t only work for birds, but also squirrels and rats.

That being said, some birds might grow wise to your rouse eventually. In that case, you can consider the following solutions:

  • Get an active decoy bird (some models move their heads, flap wings, and/or make sounds occasionally for extra realism
  • Move the decoys around a bit each day.

Doing this will keep the birds guessing about whether the predator decoy is real. For maximum effectiveness, you could also switch out decoys or use multiple types of predator decoys around your trees. 

3 – Try Ultrasonic Repellent Devices

Ultrasonic Repellent

Another way to keep birds away from your trees is by using auditory deterrents, such as ultrasonic repellents. These devices emit sound waves at specific frequencies that humans can’t hear but birds and other animals do.

This annoying sound will make the surrounding area too loud and distress the animals lurking around your garden. 

Luckily, these devices are now quite affordable and many are self-powered using solar panels.

However, you should note that pets and farm animals might also be able to hear these sound waves, so it’s not the best idea if you plan to have them around.

4 – Use Auditory Scare Devices

If ultrasonic repellents aren’t suitable for you, you can still use sounds to keep birds away using auditory scare devices.

These ones play loud distress signals and predator noises that would unsettle the birds and drive them away from your trees. 

These devices are also highly portable, so you can easily position them right where you need them to be.

5 – Hang Bird Scare Tape Near the Tree

Reflective Cds Hanging Near Berries

Birds get confused when they see shiny things, and you can use this to your advantage using bird scare tapes.

These are simply a type of reflective tape designed to confuse birds and scare them away from areas. All you need here is to hang them in convenient spots around the trees.

Besides being highly effective and proven to work well with birds, this tape is highly affordable, so you’ll get as much as you need without spending much cash.

However, you can still save your money by opting for other reflective objects that you have lying around your house.

This includes items like aluminum pie tins as well as old CDs and DVDs you don’t need anymore, and luckily, they’re as effective as store-bought tape.

6 – Get Some Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes In Tree

Wind chimes actually work really well as a deterrent because they scare the birds in multiple ways.

For starters, most wind chimes have reflective properties, so they can easily confuse your birds the same way scare tapes do.

Additionally, they make loud noises all day long that will startle birds and scare them away.

It would be more expensive to go out and buy wind chimes just to do this, though. Bird scare tape is going to be much more cost-effective if you don’t already own multiple wind chimes.

Yet, wind chimes look a lot nicer in the yard than dangling strips of tape, so you might want to consider them if aesthetics matters to you.

7 – Install Small Windmills Near the Trees

Windmill Near Orange And Avocado Trees

Windmills can actually scare birds away because birds evolved to avoid areas with moving objects like windmill blades. The continuous motion also confuses them and discourages the birds from approaching.

Besides being surprisingly effective, many people find small windmills a lovely ornate addition to gardens.

If you decide to do this, then it’s recommended to mount the small windmills on poles or PVC piping. The poles should be somewhere between six and ten feet tall so that the windmills stand out and provide the best results.

Like decoy predators, it’s also a good measure here to move the windmills around from time to time. This keeps the birds guessing and prevents them from learning how to avoid them.

8 – Paint Eyes on Balloons

Balloon Over Field Of Grapes To Scare Birds Away

This idea is sort of similar to the predator decoy idea, but it won’t cost you much money at all. 

Simply put, birds are hardwired to look for eyes while scouting an area for predators, so if you have some balloons at home, you can paint eyes on them to scare the birds away.

Additionally, even if the birds do get too close to the balloons, they’ll likely pop them, and the loud popping noise will undoubtedly spook them.

The best thing about this technique is that it’s incredibly budget-friendly and easy to make, as you only need some balloons, markers, and threads.

9 – Remove Deterrents When Fruit Trees Aren’t Blooming

Young Fruit Trees

As you might’ve noticed throughout the article, birds are fairly smart and will get used to your deterrent methods with time.

For that reason, it’s usually a good idea to avoid using the deterrent when you don’t need to (e.g. when the fruit tree isn’t currently producing fruits and there’s nothing to be worried about.)

Doing so will help to keep the birds from getting used to the deterrent methods that you like to use, and extend its effectiveness.

It might seem annoying to have to take the netting off, but it’s truly for the best. You’ll need to be proactive to keep the deterrents working and to protect your fruit tree.

10 – Provide an Alternative Food Source to the Birds

Robin Near Bird Feeder

Have you thought about playing nice with the birds? After all, they’re just trying to go for the easiest food source possible.

For that reason, if you provide them with an alternative option that’s even easier to reach and have their favorite food, they’ll almost always go for it instead of your fruit trees.

Consider installing bird feeders on your property and filling them up with bird seed, millet, and other food items that appeal to the birds you have a problem with.

Placing multiple feeders on your property can help you keep the birds from wanting to bother with the fruit tree. This will work especially well if you’re making it difficult for the birds to eat the fruit on the tree by using the deterrent methods above.

The downside will be that you’ll have to keep restocking the feeders regularly. You also might attract more birds to the yard due to having bird feeders, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal if they always have food in the feeders set away from the trees.

Additionally, to avoid attracting other pests and small animals with this method, consider opting for squirrel-proof bird feeders rather than regular ones.

11 – Install a Bird Bath Away From the Tree Area

Birds Near Bird Bath

Birds also like to be able to use bird baths. You probably already knew that, but you might still be wondering why this will help you with your fruit tree problem.

Well, you can use the bird bath to draw the attention of the birds away from the fruit tree. Sometimes birds like to eat fruit because it’s juicy and helps to quench their thirst.

If the birds have easy access to a bird bath where they can get a drink, then that’s going to be appealing to them. 

When you keep the fruit tree protected with deterrents, it’s going to be so much easier for the birds to use the bird bath than it will be for them to eat the fruit from the tree, especially if you combine it with a bird feeder near the water source.

Installing a bird bath isn’t going to be difficult either, and you can simply buy one from a department store or an online retailer.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a huge variety of techniques to use if you want to keep the birds around your property away from fruit trees.

Remember, using multiple deterrent techniques is usually the ultimate strategy here. Not only will it increase the overall effectiveness of your methods, but it’ll also prevent the birds from adapting to them quickly.

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Randy Koenders

Monday 3rd of July 2023

We tried netting in the past but it was ruduculously difficult to get the thing over our tree...and even tgen birds would get up under, and sometimes trapoed. Better than all the methods above, this year my wife and I used green fruit bags available on Amazon. We covered most of the cherry clumps by either putting the bag over the end of the branch, or cutting off the bottom of the bag to make a sleeve that could be used to cover bunches further up the branch. Pare away leaves around the clump before bagging. This took us about 2 hours to cover all major clumps. These green bags on the tree deterred many birds, but a few did come in to get the uncovered cherries. We had a bigger harvest than ever before.

Liza Brown

Friday 19th of May 2023

I didn't have problems with birds eating my cherries until I hung a bird feeder nearby just to enjoy the birds...instead I was feeding loud obnoxious blue jays who ate all the food in 24 hours (a few times before I grew wiser) and then ate all my cherries--so that method I don't recommend.

One problem with netting (which I was all set to buy today and have been researching) is that fruit ripens indeterminately and the netting can make it less easy to pick. Plus it can be quite tricky to get it up as well.

I came to this article to see other ideas, so thanks!I like the ideas of wind chimes and then I can move them to other places in my home once the short cherry season is over!


Saturday 7th of January 2023

please no not promote bird netting, this can kill birds when they get tangled in the net.


Friday 13th of January 2023

Hi Cathy, Thanks for bringing this up! I've looked into it and found that it really depends on the type of netting that is used. The finely woven type of flexible netting is considered wildlife friendly, while the netting with wider diamonds is the kind that birds and other animals can get tangled in. I've updated that section of the article to reflect this.