It is commonplace to hang ferns around the home. After all, they are lush, green plants that can add a natural touch to any home or setting. Best of all, they can be hung almost anywhere and require just a little upkeep.
The problem happens when they are hung on porches and in yards. Upkeep is still the same but there is the pest issue to deal with. Having to deal with small pests is bad enough but what happens when your ferns begin to get feathery visitors?
It’s bad enough when birds begin to land in your ferns, but you start to notice something weird: they are bringing things in with them, but not taking them out. That can only mean one thing: a family of birds in your ferns.
A family of birds might sound like a nice thing, but they will hang around for the next couple of months to care for their chicks. That means you won’t be able to care for your ferns properly, you’ll have to hear the birds coming and going, and you’ll see an increase in predators that want to get to the birds. That’s not even taking into account the increase in bird poop that you will see.
So, what can you do to keep families of birds from popping up in your ferns? There are quite a few things you can do to ensure your plants stay unbothered and you can take care of them properly.
1 – Stay Vigilant
To prevent birds from landing in your ferns and starting a family, keep an eye on the bird activity in the area starting early on in the spring. This is generally when birds will be making preparations to lay their eggs.
Part the fronds of your fern a few times a day. Look for things that seem out of place – materials that the bird will use as a nesting material. This can include things such as twigs, feathers, grasses, mud, hair, fur, dryer lint, and even bits of cloth, string, and yarn.
When you begin to notice these materials, there is about a week or two before the mama bird will begin laying her eggs. That means you need to stay vigilant and remove those materials to discourage the mama bird from making her nest in your fern.
Generally, adult birds will become distressed by you removing their work. They will become so distressed they will give up on making your fern their home, looking for new digs elsewhere.
It won’t happen right away, but you should have discouraged birds within the first few times of picking out those materials.
2 – Bring the Noise
Another good thing to do is to make as much of a fuss and noise as you can each time you pass your ferns. This includes stomping your feet, clapping your hands, waving your hands and arms, and even yelling at the birds.
The idea here is to make the area as inhospitable as you can to the birds. When you leave the area and return to your home, slam the door. Keep a radio around the area the fern is located, playing music to keep unwanted visitors away.
All of this is because birds like a quiet, peaceful area for their nests. Creating a disturbance for the birds will ultimately discourage them from making their home anywhere near your fern.
If there is a window near the fern in question and you have a cat or dog, leave the blinds open. Encourage your furry friend to hang out near the window. These are predators to the birds and should discourage them from wanting to hang anywhere near those predators.
3 – Predator Presentation
Speaking of predators, that is likely the most effective way to get rid of birds that visit your fern and keep them from coming back. But not everyone has a pet to put on the task. So, what are you to do if you have a bird problem but no furry friend to take on the role?
Easy, find a plastic snake and thread it through some of the fronds on the fern. Get another and put it on the ground near the fern. Make sure that you move them every few hours to give the presentation that the snakes are alive and moving.
Snakes are one of the primary predators for birds and they absolutely do not want snakes in the area. It may take a couple of days, but the presentation of predators should be enough to discourage those birds from revisiting your ferns.
4 – Bird Removal Accessories
If you aren’t a big fan of scaring the birds away with predators, there are other options you can take to keep the birds from making their home in your ferns.
You could pick up a couple of pinwheels that can be had for next to nothing. They make quite the noise when the wind blows. Not only that, they are shiny and colorful as well.
Birds don’t like the noise created by the pinwheels, so they may deem your fern unlivable and move on to the next potential nesting target.
You can create a homemade bird repellent out of some colorful streamers or even household aluminum foil. You can even try hanging aluminum pie tins around the fern.
In general, birds do not like shiny things. Not only that, they will likely be put off by the animated movements of these things when the wind blows. It may take a little bit of time, but the birds should eventually be dissuaded from coming back to revisit your ferns.
On the same hand, you could also implement the use of wind chimes. Not only are they loud enough to get the job done, they make for an attractive accessory for the area where your fern hangs.
Best of all, they are common enough to find that you can get them at the store or online.
If you’re thinking about doing harm to the birds or their nest, it is important to know that there is a federal act – the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act – meant to protect species of birds native to North America.
So, if a nest has sprouted and you notice eggs, do not just remove them. It is important that you contact your local municipality to find out what you will need to do to remove them. It will almost certainly require a federal permit, but it could mean needing one from the state you live in, too.
There are exceptions to this, though. Pigeons, sparrows, European starlings, and wild turkeys are not protected by that act. Still, they aren’t terribly uncommon to keep safe for a couple of select areas.
The best method is prevention. Keeping the birds away is a far easier task than getting rid of the problem after the fact. Take a walk by your ferns on a regular basis to stay aware of any potential visitors that may be ready to cause havoc.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.