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How To Keep Birds From Eating Grass Seed: 9 Ways That Work

When you’re sowing grass seed birds are a pain.

Always on the lookout, always hungry, and always in your garden.

And the seeds you place in the soil are a mighty appetizing snack.

If you’re wondering how to keep birds from eating grass seed, we’ve got 9 easy methods that you can try.

Let’s dive in.

9 Ways To Keep Birds From Eating Grass Seed

Lay Down Some Mulch

Straw mulch

Young plants growing through straw mulch

Mulch can prevent the growth of weeds and help the soil retain moisture⁠—both factors that can help grass seed to germinate and grow.

But it also has another use: helping to stop birds from making a meal out of your newly scattered seeds.

To get started, put down a thin layer of certified weed-free straw mulch. Making sure that you only use enough to cover ¾ of the soil. Which is enough to protect the seeds from hungry birds.

After the seeds have germinated you can use a rake to remove the straw. Take care not to damage the new grass.

Protect With Lawn Netting

You can also use netting to protect against birds. It has the added advantage of allowing more light to penetrate to the soil surface.

Make sure it’s tightly fitted and pinned down at the edges, fully covering the seedbed. If necessary use wooden stakes to prop the netting up away from the ground to stop birds feeding on seeds through the holes.

Cover With Burlap


Burlap can cover grass seed to prevent birds from eating it

If the area of land you’re reseeding gets a lot of wind then straw mulch might not do the job because it’s easily blown away.

Instead, consider using a sheet of burlap to cover the grass seed until it germinates.

Burlap might seem like a surprising choice but it actually works really well. Birds won’t be able to see the seeds or peck through the material. But at the same time, it does allow water, sunlight, and heat through to the soil’s surface, allowing good enough conditions for germination.

Fix the edges down with wire U pins to keep the cover in place.

After germination, simply remove the pins and take the sheet away.

You can use old sacks or you can buy burlap in rolls.

Make Mylar Tape Flutter

Mylar tape is useful because it reflects the sun’s rays as it moves in the breeze, causing it to sparkle and flash. It also makes a significant noise.

Together, these two things can startle and scare birds, including poultry such as chicken and ducks.

The best way to put mylar tape into action is to place 3 feet tall posts around the edges of your lawn. Space them about 6 feet apart surrounding the area.

Then, tie the mylar tape loosely between the poles so that it crosses over the seedbed. If it’s tied too tight it won’t be able to move properly in the breeze and will lose much of its effect. So make sure it’s loose enough to flutter when the wind blows.

Scare With Fake Predators

Owl decoy

An artificial owl in a visible spot can scare birds away

You’ve probably seen the scarecrows that farmers use in their fields to scare away birds from their crops?

Well, you can take advantage of the same idea. Birds scare easily. And there are many visual deterrents you can use to scare them away from areas containing your grass seed.

Birds know who their predators are, and will stay away from your yard if they can see something that resembles a potential threat.

So a large rubber snake lying on the soil makes for a useful deterrent.

Another option is to place a decoy owl or hawk on a post or fence as close to the area as you can.

But, remember to move the location of your fake predator if you can. Why?

Because if it never moves the birds may get used to seeing it in the same place each day. Eventually realizing it doesn’t pose them a threat. After that, the game’s up.

You can get a good decoy on Amazon:

Gardeneer 18-inch Rotating Head Owl Decoy

Hang Up Visual Deterrents

Similar to Mylar tape, there are other things you can use that will scare birds away from eating grass seeds:

Pinwheels are not just useful as a decoration, they’re also good at scaring birds. They reflect light and make noise when they move which keeps birds away.

You can also tie aluminum tin pie pans to posts. These clang together when blown by the wind and smack against the post. They also shine when they catch the sun.

You can also use old CDs. While they don’t make as much noise as pans, they are good at reflecting the sun.

Shiny helium filled balloons are also known to scare birds away. More options include colored flags in bright colors and toy windmills.

Make Some Noise

Wind Chimes

Wind chimes hanging in a garden

Birds like quiet, peaceful areas to stop and feed. So using noisy devices can keep them away.

We mentioned some of these options above when we talked about aluminum tin pans and pinwheels.

Wind chimes make a good addition to a garden, and they aren’t too annoying for people. But they can deter birds from hanging around when the wind is blowing.

Another effective choice is an ultrasound bird repeller. These produce a high-frequency sound that can get rid of birds without affecting other animals and without being noticeable to the human ear.

Devices such as Animal Repeller and Ultrason X Bird can be left on for a period of time to drive birds away from your garden.

Draw Them To A Different Part Of Your Garden

How to keep birds from eating grass seed?

Create a distraction that lures birds to the opposite side of your garden, away from the area.

Try hanging a bird feeder on a post or tree and keep it filled with seeds. Hungry birds will get used to the food being available in that location and leave your lawn area alone.

It may seem obvious, but make sure you remove bird feeders from the area near the grass seed. Anything that attracts them needs to be avoided.

Another useful distraction is to set up a birdbath. If you’ve got this and a feeder at the opposite end of your garden then it’s too good an offer for a bird to refuse.

Sow Some Bird Repellent

grass seed in hand

Sowing grass seed on a bare patch of lawn

It’s possible to get bird repellent grass seed, either online or from home improvement and gardening stores. This seed is covered with a foul tasting substance that will make birds regret they ever stopped at your garden for a quick snack.

Alternatively, if you tire of the battle, you can always sow 50% extra seed to compensate for seeds the birds eat. I know it doesn’t stop them, but if you’re happy enough to feed them anyway then it’s an easy way to deal with the problem and keep it out of mind.

Do you have any tips for keeping birds from eating grass seeds? Let us know in the comments below.

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