A grassy lawn is a nice place to relax. However, if you are starting from a scratch, it important to keep the seeds safe as they germinate. Many gardener who are intending to create a new lawn have asked this question, do birds eat grass seeds?
The answer is yes, grass seeds contains nutrients, minerals and vitamins which are important part of a bird’s diet. Birds like Finches, Sparrows, Starlings and blackbirds eat grass seeds as their natural food. They like grass seeds because they are palatable, easy to swallow and digest.
Birds have a high vision and are attracted to food particles on the ground such as grass seeds in your garden. When birds are hungry, they search for food in all places including in the soil. So, if they find grass seeds in your garden, they will pick and feed on it.
Birds like eating grass seeds due to their solid and stout beaks. Some seeds usually have a hard coating as an adaptation to prevent birds and other animals from eating them. Unfortunately, grass seeds are not tough enough to prevent the birds from eating them.
Birds also like eating grass seeds due to their small sizes, they easily fit in their beak. Once they discover presence of grass seeds somewhere, they camp there and attract more birds to come and feed on the grains.
Fortunately, there are two types of seeds available in the market for grass seeding. Uncoated or natural grass seeds and coated grass seeds. Natural grass seeds are ideal food item for the birds while the coated grass seeds are treated to prevent the birds from eating them.
They are coated with pesticides and hydrophilic coating that make them non-palatable to birds. They are non-toxic for bird’s consumption although they have a risk of digestion problems. Therefore, they are less likely eaten by birds.
How to Keep Birds from Eating Grass Seed
It is possible to keep birds away from grass seed through the following tips:
1. Use Fake Predators
Placing fake predators in your garden is among the effective ways of deterring birds from eating grass seeds. Fake predators such as an owl, hawk, rubber snake or cat may help to safeguard the seeds until they germinate. Small seed-eating birds fear their predators and they will fly away if they spot one in your seeded area.
2. Feed the Birds
Birds are beautiful animals that sing nice melodies as they hover around your garden. Instead of scaring them away when you’ve seeded your lawn, you can actually divert their attention to a bird feeder. Provide the birds with tasty and high quality seeds, nuts, fruits or earthworms in the feeders. However, be sure to keep the feeders away from the area you have sown your grass seeds.
3. Cover the Seeds
It is essential to cover your seeded area until they germinate. It’s an effective way of preventing the birds from munching on the seeds. However, there are different ways you can use to cover the seed.
- Netting: Nettings helps to deter birds from feeding on your seeded lawn. Be sure to choose a polyurethane netting materials since they are super light and resistance to mold or mildew. Elevate the net from the ground using four pillars at the corners of your lawn. Secure the net by tying the corners on the pillars.
- Mulch: Other than conserving soil moisture content, mulching can also be used to deter birds from feeding on seeded lawn. However, you need to be careful when choosing materials for mulching. You do not want to introduce weeds into your new lawn. Use straws since they weed-free and easy to rake after the seeds have germinated.
- Burlap: Burlap sheet is also an effective method of covering grass seeds. It hide the seeds from birds while letting in air, warmth and water that are necessary for germination. It also help to retain soil moisture and hence ideal for dry areas.
4. Install a Motion-activated Sprinklers
Installing a motion-activated sprinkler in your seeded lawn is a great method of keeping the soil moist as well as scaring the birds and other intruders away. When the birds land on your lawn, the sprinkler will start running automatically. The sprinkling water will scare away birds and other intruders like cats and dogs.
5. Use Coated Seeds
Many garden centers are selling grass seeds coated with bird’s repellant substances. This coating doesn’t harm the bird, they only make the seeds unpleasant. Alternatively, you can make your own homemade bird’s repellant using garlic, chili, cayenne pepper, peppermint oil and vinegar.
6. Use Reflective Scare Tape
Most birds are scared away by shiny or reflective surfaces. They perceive the reflections as a potential danger. Therefore, installing reflective scare tapes can help to keep the birds away from the newly seeded area. Alternatively, you can also use other reflective materials such as CDs. Be sure to hang then on trees near your lawn using a string so that they can whirl in the wind to reflect light.
7. Use Noise Deterrents
Generally any type of noise helps to scare birds away. Using predatory bird calls and creating different sound can help to keep the birds away from your garden. There are several noise deterrent you can use to keep off the birds from your lawn. They include:
- Ultrasonic noise deterrent: Installing motion-activated ultrasonic sound helps to deter birds in your seeded lawn. It generates a high-pitched sound that can only be hard by the passerines. It play sounds that are annoying to birds and hence keeping them away from your grass seeds.
- Spiral swirls: Hang some spiral swirls along the perimeter of your seeded lawn. The swirling motion and reflection of light will help to keep the birds away from your lawn. The birds may perceive the spiral swirls as a predator which is also another way to scare the birds away.
- Old tin cans: Tie several old tin cans together and hang them along the perimeter of your freshly seeded lawn. As the wind blows, the old tin cans will produce noise to scare away the birds. This is an old age method that gardeners used to scare away the birds from feeding on grains in the field.
- Wind chimes: Hanging wind chimes along the perimeter of your lawn can play the trick. When the wind blows, they move in the breeze while producing a sound. Therefore, both sound and movements of the chimes will deter the birds from feeding on the seeds.
8. Plant Extra Seeds
Planting extra seeds does not scare birds away from your lawn, it’s only a pre-caution measure. For instance, if birds feed on some of the seeds, you still have plenty of them to germinate. When you plant your seeds, there is possibility that some may fail to germinate while other may be blown away by wind.
9. Use Toy Windmills
Planting decorative toy windmills in your freshly seeded area can also scare away the passerines. When the wind blows, it whirls while producing a sound to scare away the birds. It also creates reflections when the sun hits on it.
10. Clean Up
Remove food sources from your garden two weeks prior to sowing your seeds. Birds are attracted to areas where they can easily find food. If they visit your garden several times without finding what to eat, they will simply move to another place. This will now be the right time to sow your seeds.
Are there Grass Seeds Birds Won’t Eat?
Grain eating birds are not selective when it comes to grass seeds. Wood pigeons, finches, sparrows and blackbirds will eat any grass seeds they come across ranging from ryegrass to fescue. They find all types of grass seeds appealing and tasty.
Even if there is plenty of other foods such as wild seed, nuts, berries and earthworms, birds won’t pass grass seeds that are scatted on the ground. Birds won’t eat grass seeds only if they are coated with a repellant which make the seeds to have unpleasant taste for birds.
Birds are visual animals and are attracted to visible food particles such as a freshly seeded lawn. They will patch on nearby trees, shrubs, buildings and fences before landing down to feast on the seeds. Fortunately, there are different ways you can use to keep the birds from eating the grass seeds as explained earlier.
Different bird’s species such as starlings. Sparrow, blackbirds, and finches do eat grass seeds as part of their diet. Knowing how to keep the birds from eating grass seeds is essential. It helps to safeguard seeded lawn until they germinate. The information above provide tips on birds that eat grass seeds and how to control them.
The primary ideas is to use coated seeds, fake predators, visual deterrents, noise deterrent and motion activated sprinklers to scare away the birds. Creating feeder points or providing the birds with alternative source of food can also help to divert the attention away from the seeded area.