Birds Eat Plants

Did you know that birds eat plants? I didn’t realize this until I came to garden in Hong Kong. Maybe they’re different here.

Birds Eat Plants

My half devoured mint!

The first year I had my garden the birds devoured my mint, my Primula flowers and mowed down my Dianthus and plucked out my cat grass by the roots. Not only that, they chopped off my baby avocado trees and spat them out on the ground. I blame the birds for that but it could have been the rat. (Well, hey, I garden in the city, in an area where there a lot of restaurants. We have the occasional rat. He’s been taken care of though, by some well-meaning soul. Whoever it is has my blessing.)

Actually, when I look back, I am certain that the rat was responsible for a lot of my troubles that year. I used to find my sweet potato plants completely uprooted and lying beside the pot for me in the morning. I think that was a rat.

Birds eat plants…

We all know that birds like to eat fruit. Like I said before, I never knew that birds eat plants too! I’ve heard how they’re a menace to tomato growers. I don’t remember having a problem with birds like that where I gardened in Nova Scotia. That’s why it was such a shock to me when I caught this sparrow joyfully munching away on my mint!

Time to take action!

I did a lot of research on the internet to find out how to discourage birds from eating my plants. I found that they don’t like bright flashy things. I also began to look around Hong Kong vegetable plots to see what they do to keep the birds from eating their plants. I found seven solutions to be helpful in scaring them off.Birds Eat Plants

1. Silver tinsel: the kind found on Christmas trees. I wrapped it around my Primulas and it was discouraging to them because they had no where to land their feet and they didn’t know what it was.Birds Eat Plants

2. Shiny silver compact discs: I strung them up nice and high where the sun could bounce off them and the wind could swing them around. It has been quite successful.Birds Eat Plants

3. Netting: I used a sheer window curtain I bought at IKEA because it offered more protection, and, well, mainly because it was what I had on hand and I wasn’t and wouldn’t be using it for anything else. I used it for covering my lettuce and greens in my window boxes when they were young. I am sure it helped because any seedlings I had planted before were fair game.Birds Eat Plants

4. Umbrella: Don’t laugh. I used a large, clear umbrella for protecting my tomatoes, over which I threw a sheer curtain like the one I used for protecting my greens and lettuce. It let the light through and created a micro-climate pocket of extra warmth for my tomatoes.

5. Wire cage: The first thing my husband and I did before I started my garden this year, was construct a cage made from chicken wire and bamboo rods. It had a lid on it made of the same. I have to say, it saved my beans and my carrots. Birds love carrot tops. They ate what they could reach right through the cage! Little darlings.Birds Eat Plants

6. Empty water bottles on bamboo sticks: I didn’t try this one because in the end I didn’t need to, but the farmers, who know that birds eat plants here in Hong Kong, have their fields covered with them. Apparently, they don’t like the noise of the wind in the bottles. 

7. Floating row covers: Also very effective to keep the birds off your young plants. Hong Kong farmers use them a lot here. 

I’ve learned a whole different kind of gardening since coming here to live. Birds eat plants! Who knew?!

Let’s be clear. I like to see birds come into my garden and I don’t mind feeding them either, but…


Do birds eat plants in your garden too? Tell me all about it! Add your voice in the comments!


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