How to keep birds away from potted plants?
May 10, 2011 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Birds (starlings, I think) are attacking my balcony planters. How can I A) get rid of them entirely or B) keep them out of my plants?

They poop on the balcony and eat the plants - herbs, flowers, whatever. I have an solar powered owl that is supposed to scare them away. It moves its head around and I move it every few days, like they suggest. The city birds aren't impressed, though (this is in Brooklyn).

posted by SirNovember to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Borrow a cat.
posted by joannemullen at 2:55 PM on May 10, 2011

European Starling:
These birds are attracted by suet, white millet, bakery crumbs, hulled oats, kitchen scraps, cracked corn, chicken feed, cooked rice and corn, canned soaked or dry food, peanut hearts, and to a lesser extend stripped sunflower seeds.
They avoid whole kernel corn, hardened suet, thistle, buckwheat, and peanuts in the shell.
Try adding feeders in various spots around the yard to lessen competition.
Try establishing a special feeding area far from the house with cheaper foods they favor, diverting them from the feeders aimed at more desirable species.
posted by leigh1 at 2:58 PM on May 10, 2011

Bird scare flash tape should be effective at keeping the starling out of your plants.
posted by vers at 3:01 PM on May 10, 2011

Response by poster: I have two cats, in fact, who seem very (*very*) eager to get at the birds. Unfortunately, a cat on a balcony is a big no-no.

There isn't a way to lure the birds elsewhere. I'm in an apartment with a balcony - no yard in sight.

I'll try the flash tape, but would have to string netting up over the whole balcony to make it work. I'd prefer not to. I'll pick some up, though.
posted by SirNovember at 6:03 AM on May 11, 2011

You could also try wind chimes / wind spinner in your flower boxes.
posted by leigh1 at 6:12 AM on May 11, 2011

For the planters, buy a couple of bags of bamboo shishkebab skewers and make like the potting soil is Hellraiser's face: as in poke them standing straight up in a grid pattern, around the plants, in the soil of the planters. If they can't dig in the soil in the planters, it should reduce the the balcony's attractiveness to the birds. This works with squirrels and it should work with birds.
posted by y2karl at 9:07 AM on May 11, 2011

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