Struggling to compete with the birds for the berries you’re growing in your garden? You’re not alone. Both novice and experienced gardeners try to keep birds at bay with netting, shiny aluminum foil, or expensive repellent sprays. After all, something needs to be done to even the playing field. No one wants to wake up at 5 am to chase those blue jays away!
Fortunately, another solution has been circling on social media, and gardeners are rejoicing. According to one Facebook user, you can deter birds with fake strawberry decoys. First, gather small rocks and thoroughly wash them. Once they have dried, paint them with a bright red acrylic. You can also embellish the rocks by dotting them with black, gold, or brown paint for seeds, and painting green leaves on top. Finally, apply at least one coat of craft varnish to prevent the paint from peeling and to give those rocks some shine. Once you’re done, place them around the berry plants in your garden.
Why do berry decoys prevent birds from stealing your fruit? Here’s how it works: birds will try to peck at the rocks, believing that they are strawberries. They hate pecking at hard objects and will eventually leave your garden alone. It’s a victory for you, and no real harm done!
Better yet, these decoys work particularly well on crows and other intelligent bird species. Crows have excellent memory and are very social birds. This means they will remember not to peck at your berries in the future, and they will warn their friends.
Unfortunately, fake strawberries may not work as well on squirrels. If you don’t want to set up chicken wire over your garden, getting rid of squirrels requires more diligence. You may need to try multiple deterrents to see what works. That includes spreading a thin layer of coffee grounds around your plants or spraying deer repellant. You can also plant strong-scented herbs and flowers nearby, such as mint or marigold, to deter squirrels from exploring your garden. Though squirrels dislike cayenne pepper as well, we don’t recommend using it because it can cause them pain and temporary blindness.
Looking for other environmentally-friendly solutions? For both birds and squirrels, we recommend setting up bird feeders and water stations in your yard. Thirsty animals tend to chew on juicy fruits and vegetables when they’re available, so a water station may distract them from your fruit. Adding feeders to your lawn will hopefully do the same. As a bonus, try setting up bird feeders near your windows so you can enjoy spotting different species.
However, some gardeners think that food stations will only bring more trouble attracting even more critters to your yard. You may consider setting up bird feeders and baths far from your garden to alleviate the issue.
Whether you try out rock decoys, netting, or another anti-critter fix, we hope that you fool those birds this summer and enjoy the fruits of your labors!
This story originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.