The 11 Best Ways To Stop Birds Eating Your Tomatoes

There’s nothing quite like growing your fruit and vegetables in your backyard. It’s an exercise in patience, attention to detail, and care that can pay off in a big way if you get it right.

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Yeah, it turns out that scarecrows aren’t just a freaky decoration for Halloween, but are necessary for protecting your growing greens!

(This will come as a shock to everyone but actual farmers)

Birds of all kinds can be a real bother to growing plants, from wheat to apple trees, and, yes, even tomato plants.

So, how exactly do you get a handle on this situation? How do you protect your crops from the pesky pecking appendages of birds of all kinds?

Well, thankfully, while birds can be a bother to plants, they are by no means impossible to stop. Especially if you employ any of these tactics to protect your tomato plant plot!

Do Birds Eat Tomato Plants?

Before we get stuck into the solutions for this issue, some people might be wondering why, or even if, birds are likely to peck, bite, or eat at your m=tomato plants.

Well, unfortunately, just because many of them are small, does not mean that birds like chickens, ducks, pigeons, and others aren’t going to pass up the chance to nibble at your precious vegetables.

Good Food

With most of these birds being herbivorous, tomato fruits provide an excellent source of nutrients, making them incredibly tantalizing food to swipe for themselves.

This is doubly the case in the summer when water can be scarcer, and the high water content of tomatoes makes them the perfect water package to fill up on!

Nesting Material

And don’t think that just because your tomato plant has just been planted, or that it’s out of fruiting season, they’re safe from these toothless menaces.

Birds are just as likely to use bits and pieces from tomato plants to help build their nests during the breeding season, meaning that even a fruitless tomato plant needs a little protection.

This is especially the case for seedlings, that haven’t had time to develop roots to stop birds from pulling them out of the soil

Tomato Cage

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It’s a simple solution, but one that’s been proven to work for decades at this point.

A physical cage around your tomato plants is one of the simplest, and most effective, ways of protecting your tomato (see also: The 3 Wise Ways To Grow Tomatoes Through Winter)plants from birds.

The physical barrier that they present makes it difficult for some bird species to quickly swoop by and pluck a tomato from the plants.

Plus, the cage itself can often act as great support for growing tomato plants, as the vines climb up the cage structure, and it can better support its growing weight and height.

Just be careful when trying to adjust or move the cage from a plant it has been on for a while. There’s probably going to be more than a few vines wrapped around it!


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Similar to cages, cloches are plastic covers that you can place over a tomato plant. Not only do they provide obvious protection, but they also still allow for light to pass through them and onto the tomato, letting them grow.

Plus, their enclosed space allows for them to keep more of their heat, allowing for subtropical or even tropical tomato varieties to be grown in colder climates.

The only issue with cloches is that they don’t usually come in many sizes, only really being suitable for a single plant at a time.

Bird Nets

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This is a strategy that many gardeners will employ to protect their fruit and vegetables. Simply draping a bird net over a plant is often all it takes to discourage birds from eating from the plants.

These thin nets can easily blend into a plant or garden, especially when green, and are easily purchased in most gardening stores.

The only issue you may find is that small animals and birds will get caught and tangled in these nets, so make sure that you check them regularly and release any animals you find.

We want to stop birds from eating our tomatoes, not hurt or kill them!

Row Cover

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Another popular strategy that farmers and gardeners will employ is row covers for entire plots. A sheet of plastic is stretched over a plot of the garden of your choice and will protect your tomato plants from all kinds of threats.

The plastic sheet not only makes it difficult for birds to eat or see them but it can also be used to protect plants from either overheating or high winds, as the sheet acts as a buffer.

Plus, sheet covers are perfect for protecting large areas of your garden too.


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However, you don’t need to resort to just protection to help protect your garden from pesky birds. Sometimes, a good distraction from your plants with something more interesting is enough.

Because birds love tomatoes for their high water content, providing a birdbath will often be enough to help protect tomatoes, as the birds go to the birdbath instead to get their water.

Plus, if you’re quiet and patient enough, you’ll even be able to watch them a bath and appreciate a little slice of nature.

One word of warning with this idea: Birds are often vulnerable to birds of prey when drinking or otherwise feeding, so make sure that the birdbath is placed somewhere that is relatively covered from high up.

Enough for the little birds to see it, but not enough to hide it from them.

Shiny Reflectors

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If distractions aren’t working, then intimidation or threats can also be enough to deter them.

Birds can get nervous when seeing shiny opens, as they often mistake them for the glint or reflection from a predator’s eye.

Hanging some shiny objects in your garden, such as aluminum pans, reflective tape, or old CDs, will catch enough light to scare birds off from approaching your plot.

If you can hang them from a string, these items might also move in the breeze, making them even more convincing!

Bird Feeders

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In the same vein as giving them a different source of water, hanging bird feed away from tomato plants can often get birds to completely ignore your garden veggies, especially when you put in a variety of seeds and other feeds.

Squirrels might try and grab some of these too, so try and perch the feed in a place that they can’t get to, but birds can!

Wind Chimes

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Wind chimes act like the audio version of reflective glare for birds.

Placing a loud set of wind chimes in a garden can easily deter birds from entering, as they will either be scared by the noise or be unable to hear potential threats approaching, making them think twice.

Fake Predators

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Sometimes one of the best and simplest things you can do to fool and scare a bird from landing near your tomato plants is to put something there that they are scared of!

We’re not saying allow a real owl or snake to live on your tomato plot (as cool as that would be).

Instead, put a fake plastic or ceramic snake/owl near your plants that cut a similar silhouette. Ideally, having them face the plants that you want birds to avoid is the best strategy.

Make sure that it moves a little to look convincing from a distance, and you have the perfect scare tactic that won’t hurt the birds.


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Of course, if you’re looking to place scary bird predators in a garden, don’t forget to put in the scariest predator of all to nature!

A man! Well, technically a scarecrow, but you get the point!

Having a person-shaped thing in a garden or plot will often do the trick, so long as, like the fake predators, they move enough in the wind to convince the birds flying overhead.

Picking When Ripe

It’s arguably the simplest strategy and one you have already tried. But simply picking your tomatoes as soon as they ripen can be enough to help salvage your tomato harvest in late summer!

You’ll need to be attentive and quick on your feet to do this one well!

Types Of Methods You Can Use

There are probably other tactics and methods that you can come up with to keep birds away from tomato plants.

If you want to come up with your own, consider how/if they fit into any of these categories.

Scare Tactic

Does your strategy try to scare approaching birds in some way, by having something in your garden that looks threatening, such as a predatory species or a person?

Scarecrows, shiny objects, wind chimes, and fake animal predators place in your garden, all fall under this category.

Protection Tactic

Does anything your strategy does try and put some kind of barrier between the birds and your tomato plants? Does it make trying to get through or around it a hassle for smaller birds?

The bird nets, tomato cages, row covers, and cloches all fit into this category. They’re often quite simple, but can sometimes be dangerous to the birds too, if they get caught in any of the protective measures.

Distraction Tactic

Does your tactic try and distract the bird from your tomatoes with some other kind of food? Is it easy for them to see and access safely?

These are your bird feeders and baths.

If your method doesn’t use any of these strategies, it may not be very effective.

Final Notes

Remember, sometimes one method might not be enough to stop the birds. Try using two or more of these ideas simultaneously for the best results.

Amelia Haslehurt
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