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Having birds in the garden can bring all sorts of benefits; however, they can be fond of fruit bushes, which won’t be good. It’s around this time of year that you’re likely to see our feathered friends eyeing up a potential meal in the form of the berries and currants growing on your foliage. That means you’ll probably want to think about some sort of protection. Some birds, like bullfinches, will go after embryo fruits, while most of them go for ripe fruit. So it’s important to find a solution early enough to look after your crops.

Netting or cages?

There are a couple of different options when it comes to building a barrier that will keep out the birds. The two most popular are bird netting and fruit cages. Netting is the more versatile of the two - it’s easy to wrap around your fruit bushes and you can just use as much or as little as you need, with a frame not necessary to keep it in-place. When you have netting attached to a frame, you get a cage. They’re more accessible, but also more complicated to install. Cages are more applicable where you’re growing over a patch of land - ideal for things like strawberries, grapes and apples.

Benefits of bird netting

It works with pretty much any bush, tree or shrub, with a variety of sizes to choose from. You can protect everything from apples, pears and plums to cherries, blackberries and gooseberries. On top of that, it’s very straightforward to install - once you’ve stretched it across, you just need to secure it with ties or wires. But the main benefit, of course, is that it stops bird from being able to pinch all your fruit. It’s even effective at keeping out other animals. Just make sure that you choose a mesh size that suits your plant - the smaller the fruit, the smaller the mesh needs to be.

Wind chimes

If you don’t want barriers around your bushes, the alternative is to try and scare the birds away. Wind chimes are a great option, because there are loads of different styles and they don’t stick out in your garden. Not only are birds wary of getting too close because of the noise, but certain chimes will reflect light, which also keeps then away. Putting chimes near or around your fruit bushes might be enough to keep the birds away. Hanging mirrors and old CDs has a similar effect. While they don’t make any noise, the reflections will move as they sway in the wind.

Predator decoys

One of the most effective methods of bird control is the threat of predators. While it’s tricky to get a real owl to hang out near your fruit bushes, an owl decoy looks real enough to do the job. Similarly, there are other bird of prey decoys like hawks and kites that are attached to long poles and move in the wind. The addition of movement can be crucial in preventing the actual birds from realising that it’s all a ruse. There’s a chance that they’ll figure it out eventually, so try moving the decoy from time to time to change it up a bit.

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