Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > June 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Keep Birds Out of Hanging Baskets

BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Keep Birds Out of Hanging Baskets

Every spring, I hang a beautiful dragon-wing begonia or a huge fluffy Boston fern by my front door.  And every year, I have little house wrens wanting to build nests in them.  The first time it happened, I thought, “Won’t it be fun to watch the babies hatch and grow?” 

Later that summer, it was fun (Not!) cleaning bird poop off the side of the house and watching the plant (it was  a Boston fern that year) die because it was difficult to water with the baby birds in there.  And it was even more fun when the first baby flew the next, landed on the sidewalk and was promptly nabbed by Itty Bitty—a stray cat I’d been feeding (who is now inside, sleeping on my dresser and watching birds out of the window). 

This year, it happened again.  Every year, I keep a close eye on the basket, checking it for nesting debris every day when I walk by it.  If I miss one day, however, I’ll find a nearly completed nest in there—like I did a couple of days ago.  I hate to destroy their handiwork, but removed the nest and took down the basket for a couple of days hoping they’d get the message and move on.  I hung the basket back up on Friday and came home from work Saturday to find more debris in the basket.  They are persistent this year, for sure.

So I decided to do a little reading this past weekend and look for suggestions on keeping birds out of my hanging baskets and here are some of the suggestions I found.

1—You can keep on doing what I’ve been doing—remove nesting material every day and take the basket down for a day or two, until they give up and move on.  My little house wrens have not given up and this has been going on for two weeks.  Maybe they’re more persistent than most.

2—Someone suggested buying plastic forks and sticking them in the soil of the basket.  I can see how that might work—no nice level area on which to build a nest.

3—Provide birdhouses in appropriate locations—for more information check out the National Wildlife Federation at http://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife/Young/Nesting-Box.aspx

4—Coil a rubber snake in the hanging basket.  Move it every day or two to simulate a real snake. I’d probably make sure the head is tucked inside the pot so as not to scare the next person who knocked on my door.

5—Attach strips of foil to the hangers on the pot.  The movement and light shining off the foil will keep the birds away.  Don’t know that I want strips of foil fluttering by my front door, but if it works….

6--Hang the basket in front of a window and encourage your pet cat to nap in the window.  Good idea—if I wanted to hang a basket in front of the window, instead of by my front door--where there is no window.

7—I Googled “bird repellents” and got some sort of ultrasonic device—for your yard, cost of $670, for a balcony or patio sized area $70.00.  Right.  $70 to repel wrens from one $19.99 hanging basket…

8—This one from Martha Stewart—hang bird netting over your hanging basket…Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of putting up a pretty plant in the first place?

So, if you have this problem, there are some choices.  I think I’ll go for the rubber snake.  And next time my youngest son, the practical joker, comes by maybe I’ll ask him to check the basket for water…
Posted: 6/27/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: birds, bonnies, garden
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