Taking care of your lawn can be a challenging task, especially if you live in an area full of birds that heavily depend on seeds for their diet. One of the hardest parts of any green lawn is seeding it and keeping it intact while the seeds are germinating. Knowing how to keep birds from eating your grass seeds will prove very useful when you’ve just planted the seeds and are in those first couple of crucial days. Moreover, if you’re doing repair work on your grass lawn, you still need to keep birds from eating the new seeds that you’ve planted.
Out of all the methods that you could use to protect your grass seeds, the most effective ones are:
- Removing bird food before you start seeding
- Using coated seeds
- Burying the grass seeds and covering them
- Using bird nets and burlap sheets
- Placing dummy predators and scarecrows
- Using reflective deterrents
- Noise deterrents
- Home pets
- Giving birds easy access to food on the side
- Using more seeds
- Using transparent tarps
Table of Contents
Removing bird food before you start seeding
One of the first things you have to do before you start seeding your lawn is to remove any bird food you previously had. While some birdwatchers would argue that this will make birds in your immediate surroundings hungrier, it will also drive them away to other places in search of food. As you will see later on with another method that you could use, giving them easy access to food someplace elsewhere near your house will actually also keep them well-fed and away from your lawn seeds.
Using coated seeds
Some of the best grass seeds on the market will come with a special layer of coating on top of them that will prevent birds from eating the seeds. Theoretically, this cannot harm the birds and is also one of the most effective ways to stop your seeds from being eaten. Mixing the seeds with a powder that will also deter ants from taking them is another step to victory. Also, it is worth mentioning that the special coating on these seeds doesn’t get in the way of their growth and won’t slow them down either.
Burying the grass seeds and covering them
Since birds rely on their sharp vision to eat prey and seeds, simply covering your grass seeds is one highly effective method to protect them. Raking the seeds combined with using a little bit of topsoil will make for a nice cover for the grass seeds. There are also other things you can use to cover the seeds with, such as straw. With the seeds being raked half an inch deep into the soil and using a natural cover like straw makes for an impenetrable defense against birds.
Another thing that is both beneficial in terms of protecting the seeds and in terms of accelerating their growth is using mulch. Just like straw, mulch is a natural cover for your grass seeds that will keep the soil moist and warm, both of which are benefactors for germination. The weak point of mulch and straw, however, is that birds could learn how to peck through them. The same goes for nettings and bird nets, which is why you should install them a bit higher than ground level. Speaking of nets…
Using bird nets and burlap sheets
Bird nets, also called repellent nets are very similar to grass seed netting. It is, however, much stronger since it is meant to keep birds away from the lawn surface. These nets have plenty of advantages and help all sorts of plants grow uninterrupted. However, there are also a few disadvantages when it comes to bird nets and grass seed nettings. They are hard to install, relatively expensive, and don’t really work with larger yards, since you will need quite a lot of support points for them to stay stable. They also don’t work well in windy climates. Still, if you have a huge problem with birds eating your seeds, this is one of the safest methods to keep them away from the grass seeds.
Placing dummy predators and scarecrows
The thing about seed-eating birds is that they are typically smaller, and therefore more vulnerable to bigger predators. While cats are the perfect house predator for birds, bigger predatory birds are ideal for that occasion. Placing face owls and face hawks typically works like a charm for urban birds. Even putting snakes in the grass here and there is usually enough to scare more birds away for good. Just make sure to keep changing the positions of the deterrents a few times per week.
If you really like this method, there are some high-tech predator deterrents out there. Some models rotate on a random basis and even have their eyes move. Having this is similar to using a scarecrow in your yard, although scarecrows have a limited effect in urban areas since birds there are more or less used to humans.
Using reflective deterrents
Reflective objects scare birds away with incredible success. Whether you use old CDs on a string around your yard or special reflective scare tape, putting it around your lawn will keep small seed-eating birds away. These deterrents are even more effective when it is windy out there, as they move and reflect light more. Reflective tapes can be attached to branches, poles, and other objects in your lawn. You can also just leave them around the lawn on the ground, just make sure you secure them.
The birds that these tapes are effective against are typically woodpeckers, blackbirds, herons, grackles, cuckoos, and others.
Just like reflective deterrents and predators, noise is another thing that can scare birds away. Typically, these deterrents use ultrasound waves, meaning they are inaudible for humans. However, they can pose certain issues for dogs, as their hearing range goes much higher than ours, and is relatively on par with the birds’. Still, if you don’t have dogs or cats, getting a noise deterrent will be a good addition to your yard in order to keep birds away when it is time to plant new grass seeds.
There are orbital sprinkler systems out there that only turn on upon detection of movement in their radius. They are typically quite effective against seed-eating birds and will also keep your lawn watered and fresh. However, sparrows are known to love water and typically don’t mind a quick shower with their meal!
Without a doubt, one of the best systems against birds perching on your trees and munching on your lawn’s seeds is having a cat. While indoor cats are pretty lazy when it comes to showing birds away, outdoor cats are the specialized forces when it comes to removing birds from your grass, especially when the birds are actively trying to snatch your seeds.
Giving birds easy access to food on the side
One way to propose a relative truce between you and the birds is by having plenty of food on the side. Birdfeeders full of seeds and other delicious foods can be a good enough substitution for most birds out there. This is why people hang multiple birdfeeders full to the brim with seeds when they start planting their grass seeds. This will act as a decoy until your seeds germinate and grow. Out of all the methods here, this is one of the friendliest ones and will keep the birds engaged in your backyard even when you are actively trying to protect your lawn. It will also make them come back once your lawn is ready, which is what a birdwatcher would want!
Using more seeds
Using Occam’s Razor, perhaps the simplest solution out there that has the most logic behind it is simply using more seeds. Granted, if you want to prevent having a ton of birds getting very fat, you will also ideally pair this method with some other deterrent. Still, more seeds almost always guarantee better results since some of the seeds will be lost in the process, either way, be it from birds, ants, or for other reasons.
Pro Tip: You can mix all these new extra seeds with bird repellents that are sold online. These repellents work by keeping the birds from eating the seeds in the first place and are generally harmless to them in case they do eat a few seeds.
Using transparent tarps
Just like mulch, straws, burlap, and other things you can put on top of the soil, transparent tarps are actually the ideal barricade to keep birds away. Another great advantage of using tarps is that they work in your favor if the climate isn’t ideal for seeding your lawn. This makes them a good option for the early spring days when it is still slightly cold outside. Transparent tarps also work well in the fall. It will allow sunlight to pass through it while it will trap most of the heat and moisture inside. Just make sure you secure your tarps with heavy objects or by tying them down, especially if you live in a windy state.
If you also want to learn how to kill ragweed without destroying your lawn, make sure you visit this article on the topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a type of grass seed that birds won’t eat?
Typically, birds won’t be very pretentious when it comes to grass seeds. All of the ones out there are on their menu. However, different companies try different methods to deter the birds from preferring their seeds. One of the best ways to do that is to coat the seed with an agent that will make the birds avoid the seed. These seeds are typically great for creating a new lawn!
Which birds eat most of your lawn grass seeds?
Typically, in cities and urban areas, sparrows are the number one culprit when it comes to eating your grass seeds and invading birdhouses. Keeping the sparrows out of birdhouses and your lawn is challenging but there are a few tricks that will discourage sparrows from frequently visiting your yard. One of the best ways to deal with them is to monitor and remove nesting locations, limit water usage around the yard, and have birdhouses with smaller openings.
How to make your grass seeds grow faster?
One of the easiest ways to make your seeds grow up faster is by adding amendments and fertilizers when tilling the soil. In the meantime, soak and dry the seeds before planting them in the raked soil. If you cover the seeds with mulch and water them frequently, you should get results within a few days!
Can grass seeds kill birds?
While it is hard to say whether a single bird can die from ingesting ground seeds, eating too many coated seeds will certainly end up well for the bird. That being said, the seed coatings usually deter them good enough so that they don’t eat more than a few.
If you’re still a beginner and want to learn how to mawn your lawn, click here!
Knowing how to keep birds from eating your grass seeds is crucial if you want to keep your lawn intact. One of the most important things about an evenly seeded lawn is having enough seeds at all points germinate all at once. Spots with fewer seeds tend to leave empty spots of land across your lawn. This is usually a place for weeds to start growing from since they will have plenty of sun and water there. Using bird nets, predator decoys, and having mulch on top of your seeds are one of the most effective ways of keeping birds away from your lawn. However, try planting more seeds half an inch below the ground level, just to be on the safer side!