How to Stop Birds Digging up Plants with 5 Easy Techniques

To prevent birds from digging up plants, try placing visual deterrents, like shiny objects, near the plants, or cover the soil with mulch or mesh. Creating alternative digging spots with loose soil can also redirect their behavior, ensuring a thriving garden.

You can also try using bird netting or wire mesh to create a physical barrier around your plants or create a distraction for the birds by setting up a bird feeder or bird bath away from your plants.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the topic of birds digging up plants, and provide an overview of the main causes of this behavior and the common types of birds that tend to do this. So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep your plants safe from birds digging.

Alternative Solutions for birds from digging up plants

Understanding the causes of birds digging up plants

To effectively prevent birds from digging up plants in your garden, it’s important to first understand the root causes of this behavior. Birds may dig up plants for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Looking for insects: Many bird species, such as finches and sparrows, will dig through the soil to find insects to eat.
  • Searching for water: Birds may also dig up plants in search of water, especially during dry spells or in arid climates.
  • Nesting Materials: Birds may also dig up plants to gather materials for their nests, such as grasses, roots, or mosses.

To identify which type of bird is causing the damage in your garden, it’s helpful to pay attention to the time of day that the digging is occurring, as well as the specific plants that are being targeted. Some common birds that are known to dig up plants include finches, sparrows, jays, and starlings.

It’s also important to note that the environment and human activities can have an impact on birds and their behavior. For instance, urbanization and habitat loss can push birds to forage for food in urban areas, leading to increased bird-plant conflicts.

Climate change and extreme weather events can also influence the behavior and migration patterns of birds, which can also affect the way they interact with plants.

Prevention Techniques of Birds from Digging Up Plants

Prevention Techniques of Birds from Digging Up Plants

Once you have a good understanding of the root causes of birds digging up plants, you can then implement various prevention techniques to protect your garden. Here are some strategies for deterring birds from digging up plants:

Netting or mesh coveringsHigh
Landscaping with thorny or prickly plantsHigh
Planting bird-deterrent plantsModerate
Installing decoys or scarecrowsModerate
Applying repellentsLow

In addition to these strategies, here are some tips for protecting individual plants or areas of the garden:

  • Covering delicate plants with netting or mesh.
  • Creating a barrier of thorny or prickly plants around more delicate plants.
  • Placing physical barriers such as rocks or mulch around the base of plants.
  • Providing nesting and roosting alternatives such as birdhouses and nesting boxes.

It’s also important to make the garden less attractive to birds by:

  • Modifying bird feeders to prevent overfeeding and keeping them away from sensitive areas of the garden.
  • Relocating birdhouses to areas of the garden where they will not encourage digging.
  • Keeping the garden clean and free of debris, so as not to provide a source of nesting materials for birds.

Finally, to discourage birds from digging up plants, you can use physical barriers such as:

  • Staking down the soil to keep it in place.
  • Installing plastic or rubber snakes or owls as decoys.
  • Applying repellents such as sound or motion-activated devices.

It’s important to keep in mind that different birds may have different susceptibility to different techniques and also every garden is different. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try different approaches and observe which one works best for your situation. Also, remember that it’s always important to consider the welfare of birds when implementing any prevention techniques.

birds dig plants

Alternative Solutions for birds from digging up plants

In addition to the prevention techniques outlined above, many alternative solutions can help to reduce the likelihood of birds digging up plants in your garden. These include:

Alternative plants that may be less appealing to birds:

  • Daffodils, which are toxic to many birds
  • Marigolds and zinnias have strong scents that may deter birds.
  • Alliums, which have a strong smell and flavor that birds don’t like
  • Agave, Aloe, and other succulents have spines or sharp leaves that birds find unappealing
  • Tulips and crocus, which are planted deep under the soil and are difficult for birds to find

Creating bird-friendly areas of the garden:

  • Designing the garden with different levels, to make it difficult for birds to access certain areas.
  • Creating natural barriers such as rock gardens or water features.
  • Offering bird-friendly plants such as bushes and trees that offer berries and fruit, as well as safe nesting sites.

Providing alternative food sources for birds:

  • Placing bird feeders in areas of the garden away from sensitive plants
  • Offering a variety of food types to keep birds from becoming dependent on a single food source.
  • Planting native plants that will provide natural food sources for birds throughout the year.

Providing birds with a natural habitat:

  • Allowing undisturbed areas in the garden for birds to nest and forage.
  • Minimizing the use of pesticides and chemicals in the garden.
  • Encourage biodiversity in the garden, which will provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for a variety of bird species.

What is bird netting?

Bird netting is a physical barrier made of plastic or mesh material that can be used to protect plants from bird damage. It can be draped over plants or attached to a frame to create a bird-proof enclosure.

How can bird netting be used to protect plants?

Bird netting can be used to cover garden beds or vegetable gardens to prevent birds from accessing the plants. It can also be used to create a bird-proof enclosure around individual plants or to cover the soil around plants to prevent birds from digging.


Keeping your garden safe from bird digging is simpler than you might think. By using visual deterrents, mulching, or providing alternative digging spots, you can create a bird-friendly and plant-friendly space.

With these easy solutions, you can enjoy a beautiful garden without worrying about our feathered friends disrupting your plants. Happy gardening!


Why do birds dig in flower pots?

Birds may dig in flower pots to find food, create a nest, or simply cool off in the soil.

How do protect plants from birds on the balcony?

You can protect plants from birds on a balcony by using bird netting, creating a physical barrier with chicken wire, or setting up bird feeders or bird baths away from your plants.

Blackbirds destroying the garden, What to do?

To prevent blackbirds from destroying your garden, you can use bird netting or bird deterrent methods such as reflective surfaces, strips of aluminum foil, or bird feeders with sunflower seeds to distract them from your garden beds or vegetable garden.

Is there anything you can spray to keep birds away?

Yes, there are bird-repellent sprays available on the market. However, it’s important to note that some species of birds are protected by law, so make sure to research and use bird deterrent methods that are safe and legal.

What are some other bird deterrent methods?

Other bird deterrent methods include reflective surfaces, strips of aluminum foil, bird feeders with sunflower seeds to create a distraction, and using bird-friendly plants to attract birds away from your other plants.

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