How to Protect Grapes from Birds [5 Vineyard-Tested Methods]

The best way to protect your grapevines from bird damage is by using bird netting. This netting is highly effective at deterring pest birds and is fairly affordable. However, there are other methods. Organza bags can be used to safely bundle clusters of grapes separately. Visual deterrents such as scarecrows and pinwheels frighten birds away. Noise deterrents startle birds away as well. A combination of these protective measures can be used to limit threats to your grapes.

How to protect grapes from birds

5 Ways to Protect Grapes from Birds

Bird damage is a major nuisance when growing grapes. Fortunately, there are several deterrents that can be used to protect your groups. Below, we’ll discuss the best methods to protect grapes from scavenging birds.

Bird Netting

One of the best ways to protect your grapes is by securing bird nets over your vines. This creates a physical barrier that prevents birds from pecking at the growing grapes. If your grapes are not trained to a trellis system, drape the netting over the grape vine. Then, anchor the net in place with soft twine or cloth ties.

  • This netting is extremely effective for protecting grapes from wild birds.
  • Bird netting can be draped over free-growing grapes and secured with zip ties.
  • Protect trellised grapes by covering both sides of the trellis with netting.

Trellis-grown grapes are easy to protect with netting. In fact, you will see netted grapes in vineyards throughout the world. To protect trellised grapes with netting, wrap netting around the upper portion of the trellis to protect the grapes and foliage. Secure the netting to the trellis with zip ties.

Organza Bags

Organza bags are another effective covering to prevent birds from stealing your grapes These bags can be placed over individual bunches of grapes. They can then be sealed using the drawstrings on the open end of the bag. Birds can’t get through the bags to feed on your grapes.

  • Use these organza bags to protect your grape cultivars from bird damage.
  • Place a bag over each cluster of grapes on the vine.
  • Pull the drawstrings tight and tie them to prevent the bag from slipping off.
  • This method works best if you have a few grape vines in a backyard garden.

Organza bags are a great option if you are a backyard gardener with only a handful of grape vines. They’re more cost-effective than netting if you’re not covering many plants. Just keep an eye out for grape clusters and bag them once harvest season is approaching.

Visual Deterrents

Many bird species can be driven away through the use of frightening visuals like scarecrows. Visual deterrents can include many different things such as: 

  • Images of predatory birds, like this stationary kite.
  • Flashing pinwheels.
  • Scarecrows.
  • Shining lights.

The psychology behind all of these deterrents is roughly the same though. They each produce visual stimuli that signal danger to the bird. Predatory birds and scarecrows make it seem like a potential predator is guarding the grapes. Flashing lights and pinwheels provide a barrage of stimuli that disorients the bird and causes them to stay away out of caution. All of these help startle birds and make them fearful of coming near your crops.

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Bird Repellent 

Repellent sprays are an effective method of protecting your tasty grapes from some species of birds. Repellent products tend to be made for specific birds rather than birds as a species. They work by introducing scents that birds find repulsive. 

  • Bird repellents introduce bad smells to your garden that drive away birds.
  • Usually, repellents must be purchased for specific bird species.
  • Repellents can get costly if you’re facing multiple species of bird pests.

Repellents make your grapevines stink so birds won’t want to go near them. So if you have a specific type of bird you need to deal with, this solution can work well for bird control.

Noise Deterrents

Things that make loud noises like bird bangers and wind chimes can scare off birds. As with visual deterrents, these introduce a barrage of stimuli that disorients or frightens birds. Loud noises signal danger which causes birds to fly away out of fear for their safety. 

  • Wind chimes and bird bangers help to scare off birds.
  • These deterrents are only moderately effective when used alone.

These help to prevent bird infestation before it starts. This method is only moderately effective though since birds can grow used to the loud noises over time. To boost the effectiveness of noise deterrents, combine them with other methods.

Do Birds Like Grapes?

Birds love to eat grapes whenever they can. Large birds can eat grapes whole, while small birds will peck at individual grapes and tear them apart. Either way, birds can ruin your harvest if you leave your grapevines unprotected.

  • Birds love all types of fruit, including grapes.
  • Both large and small species of fruit-eating birds will be attracted to grapevines.
  • Sparrows, crows, and even pigeons can eat your grapes.

A wide variety of bird species will eat grapes. Small sparrows and finches will peck at the fruit, while crows, ravens, and gulls will eat grapes whole. The only birds that won’t eat grapes are carnivorous species such as hawks and eagles. 

Do You Need to Protect Your Grapes from Birds?

You must protect your grapevines from birds if you want your grape harvest. UNprotected grapes are extremely likely to be eaten by birds before they are ripe enough for human consumption. 

  • Unprotected grapes will be eaten by birds in the majority of cases.
  • If you aren’t planning on harvesting your grapes, leave them unprotected for birds to feed on.
  • Birds won’t damage your grapevines enough to cause issues.
  • Letting birds eat grapes may result in an unhealthy amount of bird droppings on your property.

If you are growing your garden to feed wildlife, it’s as simple as leaving your grapes unprotected. You’ll attract a variety of birds to feed on the grapes. This is generally harmless. Birds can cause some damage to individual vines but it’s usually not enough to kill your plant.  However, not preventing birds from eating your grapes may result in additional bird droppings around your property. You may want to avoid this for health reasons. 

How to Protect Your Grape Vineyards from Birds

The best ways to protect your grapes involve employing a physical barrier. After that, the next best way is to drive birds away by using something that harms one of their major senses. Here are a few of the key things to remember when it comes to protecting your grapes from birds:

  • Use bird netting or organza bags to physically cover your grapes from being eaten.
  • Use visual deterrents and audio deterrents to scare birds off.
  • Bird repellent can be used to drive away birds of prey.
  • Birds crave fruit so it may require multiple strategies to keep them away.
  • You don’t have to protect your grapes if you don’t want to.

If your bird infestation gets too out of hand to manage, consider hiring professional bird removal services. These professionals can be lifesavers in dealing with hard to control avian pests.

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