11 Simple & Effective Methods To Stop Birds Eating Tomato Plants

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In Brief: How To Stop Birds Eating Tomato Plants

The physical barriers, including nets, cages, row covers, and cloches are commonly used to prevent birds from accessing the tomatoes. The shiny reflectors, windchimes, fake predators, and scarecrows may frighten birds. They may be distracted by an alternative source of food and water. Lastly, harvest the tomatoes early to stop birds from eating them.

In this article, I will throw light on different effective ways to protect your tomato plants from birds.

I have tried and had success with some of the methods mentioned below. For others, I have compiled the measures that have worked for other gardeners.

Shall we begin!

Strategies To Protect Tomato Plants From Bird Damage

Birds nibble on tomatoes if they are hungry or thirsty. You may use physical barriers, scare methods, and distraction measures to protect tomato plants from bird damage.

Birds are necessary creatures in the garden. But, sometimes they may become annoying eating my delicious tomato fruits.

They break the skin of the tomato plants and get into the flesh. They may also break down the stems and vines of the tomato plants.

The three strategies used to protect the tomato plants from the birds are –

Physical barriers – You may install barriers around the plants and make the access of the plants harder for the birds.

Scare methods – You may scare the birds using scarecrows, hanging objects, or windchimes. The birds may get frightened and turn away from the tomato garden.

Distraction measures – You may offer alternative water or food source in a different location away from the tomato garden. It may distract the birds and protect your plants.

Effective Ways To Protect Tomato Plants From Birds

In this subsection, I will discuss the different methods to keep the birds away from your tomatoes. You may save your fruits following these measures.

1. Bird Nets

Wrapping the tomato plants with bird nets is one of the effective measures to protect the tomato plants from the birds.

But, you may have to check if there are some animals or birds trapped in the nets.

One of the most effective methods to keep the birds away from your tomato garden is bird nets. You may place it over the plants and tie the corners so that the net does not blow away.

You may wrap it over the tomato cages to easily protect it from birds. It may also be draped around the stakes to protect the plants.

The bird nets may blend with the garden. It is easily available in the stores.

One drawback with using bird nets is that some birds or small animals may get tangled in the nets. So, you may have to check frequently and remove the birds.

The bird nets may make it harder to access the tomato plants, inspect for pests, and harvest the tomatoes. Also, birds can not remove the harmful insects that attack the tomato plants.

2. Cages

Cages may be placed surrounding the tomato plants to protect them from birds. The space between the ribs of cages should be narrow. You may wrap a net around the cage for extra security.

Another method that has been used for many years is caging. It is commonly used to help tomato plants to grow upright. It may also be effective against birds and predators.

One downside of using cages is that the small birds may squeeze and enter the cage if the openings are large. So, make sure the spaces between the wires of the cages are narrow.

But, it should allow air circulation and sunlight to the tomato plants.

Another tip is to wrap the net around the cage for additional protection of the tomato plants.

3. Row Cover

Row covers may also be used to prevent the birds from attacking the tomato plants. One drawback is that it makes it difficult for pollinators to access the plants.

Row covers are used as physical barriers to protect the tomato plants from pests and low-temperature damage. They may also be used to shy away birds from attacking the tomato plants.

They provide support and allow the plants to receive sunlight.

But, I find it difficult to access my tomato plants using a row cover. Also, pollinators may not be able to reach your plants. The birds will not be able to eat the pests that feed on the tomato plants.

4. Cloches

Cloches may be storebought or DIYed. It may be used to cover the plants and prevent the birds from attacking the tomatoes.

Cloches are versatile covers that may be placed over tomato plants. It is usually used for protecting the seedling against cold weather. But, it may also be used to protect the plants from birds.

You may buy cloches at stores. Else, you can make them at home using plastic or wire.

I cut the bottom of a plastic bottle and then place it over the tomato seedling to cover it. I remove the cap to provide a vent so that plant doesn’t overheat.

You may also use wire cloches and shape them around the tomato plants in the form of a cone.

5. Shiny Reflectors

Some shiny reflectors, including CDs, reflector tapes, or aluminum pans may be tied near the tomato plants. It may shine and frighten the birds due to reflections.

Another method to frighten birds is using shiny objects. It may be aluminum pans, DVDs, or old reflector tape. Some also hang the old reflectors from bicycles to scare the birds away.

I tie old CDs to a string and hang them in the windy place in my tomato garden. It allows them to move and shine due to the sun. The birds get scared away due to these reflections.

Check out his video on how to keep the birds away using shiny objects:

6. Windchimes

Another interesting measure is to hang the windchimes near the tomato plants. The noise made by these chimes may keep the birds away from the tomatoes.

The addition of noisy and moving objects to the tomato garden may frighten the birds away. You may place windchimes in different positions in the tomato garden.

Windchimes may move around in the wind causing weird noises near the tomato plants. It will startle the birds and keep them away from tomatoes. Few use reflective tapes and CDs along with windchimes for better results.

7. Fake Predators/ Bird Diverters

The fake predators, including snakes, and owls may scare the birds. But, you have to move them occasionally to work for a longer time.

Some gardeners use fake animals, including snakes, and owls in the tomato garden. When they are mounted near the tomato plants, it may frighten the birds trying to eat the tomatoes.

Bird diverters available today are realistic, durable, and effective in scaring the birds out of the tomato garden. Also, you may move them occasionally for this trick to work for a long time.

8. Water-filled Birdbath

The alternative water source, including a birdbath, may be placed near the tomato plants. The birds won’t disturb the tomato plants after their thirst is quenched.

Sometimes, birds will munch ripe tomatoes as they are thirsty. When they are provided with an alternate water source like a water-filled birdbath, they won’t disturb the tomato plants.

I placed a bowl of water far from the tomato plants, especially during the summer months. The birds stopped disturbing my tomato garden.

9. Hanging Bird Feeder

The bird feeder may be placed near the plants and this alternative food source may attract the birds. You may also plant a sacrificial plant near the tomato plant to divert the birds.

Birds may get easily distracted by an alternate food source. I place some seeds in the bird feeder away from the tomato garden.

Sometimes, I throw the bird seeds around the garden away from the tomato plants. I keep the birdbath near the bird feeders for additional distraction.

Another method is to distract the birds by providing another area with sacrificial plants. Sunflowers, zinnia, fuchsia, and berry bushes may keep the birds away from the tomatoes.

10. Scarecrow

The scarecrows are one of the oldest measures to scare the birds away from the tomatoes. You may change its
position regularly.

One of the oldest tested methods to scare the birds is using scarecrows. It is to trick the bird that a real human is guarding the garden.

I make my scarecrows using cotton and sticks. I use an old colorful shirt, trousers, and hat to complete the scarecrow.

One tip is to change the position of the scarecrow every few days to make it effective.

11. Ripening the fruits of the vine

Harvesting the tomato fruits early may help in protecting the fruits from birds. You may ripen the fruits off the vine later.

Sometimes, the birds may attack the delicious tomatoes even after taking all the precautions. You may pick your tomatoes early to stop the birds munching on them.

Harvesting the tomatoes early may also help lighten the fruit load on the tomatoes, reduce the chance of cracking, and control the ripening process.

You may pick the tomatoes once they change the color from green to pinkish-red.

You may check this video to scare birds using different methods:


What kind of birds eat tomatoes?

Blackbirds, including red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, and starlings may eat tomatoes. It will also feast on insects and small animals. Crows may nibble tomatoes, but they may clean the insects that are harmful to the plants

Can Christmas lights be used to scare birds?

Yes. Some gardeners suggest using flashing Christmas lights on the tomato plants to scare the birds away. You may also hang these ornaments for better results.


Now, I hope this article has provided you with different methods to protect your tomato plants from a bird.

Please let us know your suggestions and feedback. Also, I would like to hear if you have tried any other methods
that have worked.

I hope you find this article useful. If yes, please share it with your friends!