From the Desk of Ed Hume: A Friendly Way to Keep the Birds Away

April 28, 2010 at 2:08 AM Leave a comment

Why would you want to keep the birds away?  Well, only while the berries and fruit are ripening!  Or, if the geese or large birds are fouling the lawn and garden, messing on your dock or boat, or eating the fish in the pond.  Yes, sometimes there are a few short periods during the year when one may want to keep birds out of a part of the yard and garden.  So here’s a way to do it without harming the birds in anyway!

The product we use at our house is call “Bird Scare Flash Tape” and here’s how it works: It’s a mylar tape which reflects the light of the sun.  When loosely spiraled with the bright red and silver sides alternating, it will move and flash in the wind.  This seems to signal danger to the birds, which may associate the movement with fire (one theory).  It’s been very effective in repelling birds in a wide variety of applications.  Birds may become used to its presence over a period of time, however, so for best results put the flash tape up just before your berries or fruit start to ripen.  For persistent or long-term bird problems, it may be necessary to move the tape around to provide different looks as well as combine the tape with other methods of bird control.

When you’re ready to use the flash tape, remove the center cardboard ring from the roll by slightly flattening the roll and pulling out the loosened inner ring.  Tie this inner roll tape end to a secure starting point and hold the outside of the roll, applying the tape around the area to be protected.   As you dispense the tape from the center, it will automatically spiral. Apply fairly loose so any breeze will help maximize the flash effect.

Secure the tape with stakes every 10 to 15 feet down the row.  For extra protection, run the tape down both sides of the row of berry crops like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes.

For fruit tree protection, tie the inner end of the tape to a lower outside branch and string the tape loosely all the way around the tree from bottom to top, with the tape spiraling as you go.   This method helps protect the fruit on trees such as cherries and apples.  For large trees, toss the tape over the tree several times for good coverage.  Some people cut strips of flash tape 1 to 2 feet long and tie them to individual tree branches and that seems to work quite well too!

You can keep ducks and geese off lawns near the waterfront by running the tape 4 to 6 feet above the ground tied to stakes or other support.  For decks, docks, and buildings, install the tape up and out from the structure, so as to catch the sunlight and breeze.  To keep seagulls away from boats, run the tape down from the mast or railings to other convenient points near the top of the craft.  Protect fishponds and rearing pens from bird depredation by spiraling the tape above the water.

You will find Bird Scare Flash Tape in all Ed Hume Seed racks in local garden outlets.  290 feet of the product sells for only $4.95.   It is also available via mail-order or on the web at http://www.humeseeds.com. For mail and/or web orders, please add $1.00 for shipping and handling.

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